ATA speak out about CSA data limitations
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) have spoken out about the limitations of data used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for its safety monitoring and measurement system; Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA).
The FMCSA claims it has sufficient violation data to assess 40% of active carriers in at least one category but only enough to "assign a percentile rank or score" in at least one category to 12% of active carriers. In fact, the vast majority of these carriers are only assigned a score in one category. The agency contends this weakness is not problematic since "those carriers are involved in 83% of the crashes."
According to the ATA, this statement is concerning as many crashes aren’t reported to the agency, a statement which is supported by research conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Institute.
"This statement concerns us since FMCSA doesn't really know how many commercial motor vehicle crashes are occurring or who is involved in them. Many crashes simply don't get reported to the agency," ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said.
Despite the FMCSA's self-assessment that most states do a "good" job of reporting crashes, the UMTRI's comprehensive analyses demonstrate that some states do a good job while others do a poor job of reporting crashes to FMCSA.
For example, UMTRI found several states report less than 75% of their truck crashes to FMCSA. Unfortunately, FMCSA has discontinued funding for the UMTRI crash reporting studies which provide more accurate and reliable assessments of state crash reporting.
"Sole reliance on FMCSA's estimates does little to provide an understanding of how the CSA system lacks important safety data on the vast majority of the industry," Graves said. "This is critical because, as an analysis by the American Transportation Research Institute pointed out perceived safety risk is dependent on the amount of data available on each carrier.
"The fact that the government lacks data to score the vast majority of the industry in most categories calls into question not only the assumptions of those who don't have enough data to get scored, but those who do,” he continued.
"Honest and candid dialogue about data limitations, what currently works with CSA and what doesn't will lead to both program improvements and highway safety gains," Graves said.
FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles
FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics.
The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener".
FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, both in-warehouse and on-road.
“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”
The changing role of couriers
Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time.
But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse.
“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”
Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds.
Last mile's role in ESG
Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings.