Hauliers have seen a 37% reduction in unsafe driving behaviours and a 6% increase in miles per gallon (MPG) during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to telematics specialist Microlise.

The results come from telematics data analysed by the Microlise Data Science and Operational Research team.

The analysis revealed that average MPG improved by 6% with the increase starting on 16 March, peaking in the week of 6 April and then remaining relatively stable in the following weeks.

The data also revealed a 37% decrease in number of speeding events per kilometre.

The fall started from the 23 March, reaching its lowest level in the week of the 13 April.

The latest data shows that this has since gone up to -31% compared to the baseline, which Microlise says reflects recently increased traffic levels.

Harsh braking events also saw a significant fall, down 37% per km. The data shows the decline began on 9 March, reaching its lowest level during the week of 6 April, when it fell by 37% but has since risen to -29%.

From the first day of lockdown on 23 March there was also a decrease in total mileage which dropped to its lowest level during the week of 6 April to -27%, moving up to -16% in the following weeks.

Nadeem Raza, Microlise chief executive, said lessons could be learnt from the data to improve future haulage operations.

“Travel movement for those hauliers who have been able to continue to trade, seems to have improved during lockdown.

“Drivers are performing more safely and are travelling more efficiently between depots and delivery end-points, perhaps due to lighter traffic conditions and the fact that night-time delivery restrictions were relaxed.

“Could HGV-only lanes, and more flexibility around delivery windows support a more agile supply chain into the future?”

“What is certain is that the Coronavirus pandemic has thrown our global supply chain into sharper focus in a way that is likely to transform our logistics landscape into the future with data continuing to play a key role in supporting our sector as it returns to a new normal - a sector that yet again, has proved in a time of crisis - to be a bedrock within our economy.”

More detailed analysis of Abbey Logistics' fleet has shown significant increases in both average speeds and fuel efficiency since the lockdown.

Steve Granite, CEO of Abbey Logistics, said: “We have all been trading in incredibly challenging circumstances, but as a result of quieter roads, we have seen an improvement to customer service and savings in repair and maintenance and an increase in MPG as well as nearly 6% increase in the average speed of our fleet. This means the fleet is doing more with less and our assets are much more productive and require less repair and maintenance thanks to more consistent driving.

“To get a better understanding of these benefits, how they could be sustained and what it could mean to Abbey and other operators when traffic and congestion increases, we began a project with Microlise to analyse the data to share with the sector, which will hopefully help all hauliers as we come out of the crisis and potentially also help influence decisions around traffic management and congestion in the future.”

Abbey Logistics and Microlise began analysing Abbey’s journey metrics for its fleet of 550 drivers, 400 trucks and 550 bulk liquid and powder trailers with initial results covering the period 30 days prior to and 30 days post, the UK lockdown.

Key results were:

• Average speed improved group-wide by an average of 5.66% (from 36.6mph to 38.8mph)

• MPG – increased by 2.6%

• CO2 emission percentage improvement across the group of 3.97% from base point in February 2020.

• Driving behaviour and performance:

- Acceleration of more than 95% decreased from 5.61% to 4.53%

- Engine idling decreased from 2.51% to 2.04%

- Greenband driving increased from 90.39% to 91.52%

- Cruise control use increased from 45.72% to 53.15%