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New technology to save fuel

At a time when we are all concerned with the rising cost of petrol and our carbon footprints, Cranfield School of Management has developed a vehicle routing model that could save logistics operators thousands of pounds a year in fuel costs and also cut down on CO2 emissions.

VREAM is an innovative vehicle routing model that has been developed by Dr Andrew Palmer from the Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Cranfield School of Management.

Andrew has developed a computer based model that calculates the amount of CO2 emitted from road journeys, as well as the time and distance. VREAM will select the most fuel efficient route by using roads on which a vehicle can maintain the optimum speeds that minimise fuel consumption.

The model uses a digitised road network containing predicted traffic volumes, to which speed flow formulae are applied. This means that the model is uniquely able to address the issue of congestion, as well as reducing CO2. It uses driving cycle data to apply variability to the generated speeds to reflect acceleration and deceleration so that fuel consumption, and therefore CO2, can be estimated.

Commenting on the technology Andrew said: “The aim has not been to produce new mathematical theories, but to produce a pioneering basis for routing which will provide new information and knowledge about how CO2 emissions vary for different minimisation and congestion criteria.”

Professor Richard Wilding from the Centre said: “By using this technique, drivers will be able to identify the most fuel efficient route, an extremely useful option given the increasing cost of fuel.”

The results of research undertaken by Andrew show that fuel consumption, and therefore CO2 emissions, can be reduced by over 5% if the most fuel efficient routes are used.

The research was sponsored by a leading supermarket and used a sample of their home delivery data for the analysis.

Cranfield School of Management is one of Europe's leading university management schools renowned for its strong links with industry and business. It is committed to providing practical management solutions through a range of activities including postgraduate degree programmes, management development, research and consultancy. www.som.cranfield.ac.uk

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