Idle Reduction Needs Assessment

ATA Logo Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association LogoCompleted in February 2003, the purpose of the needs assessment was to characterize operational needs and barriers to the use of idle reduction technologies through discussions and interviews with industry representatives. Participants in the needs assessment included members of the American Trucking Associations (fleet managers), members of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (owner-operators), truck manufacturers (Freightliner, Mack, PACCAR, Volvo), and many IR technology manufacturers. This section provides a summary of the results of the needs assessment. The results are summarized below.

  • Fifty percent of responding fleet managers track idle time and nearly 50% claim to use idle reduction systems or techniques. Only 17% of owner-operators questioned track idling and 16% use idle reduction systems.
  • The principal reason owner-operators and fleets use idle reduction technologies is economic. More than 90% of the respondents report saving fuel as a principal reason.
  • Cost is by far the biggest barrier reported to idle reduction technology implementation. More than half of owner-operators and fleet managers report it as the number-one barrier to implementation. When considering a purchase, most fleets and owner-operators use a simple break-even method that has a payback period of less than two years.
  • According to fleet managers, receptiveness is the second largest barrier to idle reduction technologies. It is the number-one barrier for 32% of respondents. Fleet managers felt truck operators idle because they are unaware of the benefits of reduced idling or simply out of habit.
  • Maintenance and reliability requirements rank as the third largest barrier with owner-operators (31% ranked them in the top three). Additional maintenance requirements for an idle reduction system are reportedly not offset by reduced engine maintenance, extending the payback period beyond acceptable limits.

From these results researchers concluded that idle reduction technology demonstrations must focus on addressing the barriers to implementation. They should statistically quantify potential cost savings through reduced maintenance and extended engine life, as well as through reduced fuel use.