How Hard Can this Be?; The trials and tribulations of setting up and executing a project to track long haul trucks using GPS

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Since 2004, the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) in Springfield, Oregon has been working with the U.S. EPA on a project designed to reduce diesel emissions from heavy-duty trucks that idle in our communities. The project helps fund the addition of auxiliary power units (APUs) on trucks in order to provide a source of power for driver comfort systems while allowing the main engine to be turned off instead of idling. These APUs save 90% of the fuel that idling consumes and produce significantly less emissions than the main engine would.

In 2005 LRAPA partnered with LCOG’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) group to provide analysis of how, when, and where these APUs were being used. Our goal on the project was to collect and analyze data to determine how many hours the APUs were in use, where these units were turned on, and calculate fuel and emissions reductions arising from the use of APUs. To accomplish this we employed a custom GPS tracking device linked to the APUs installed on a subset of trucks in the study to track the time and place that the APUs were in use. The tracking device included cellular phone based data uploading capability which allowed us to view the tracked trucks’ status in real time and download data for analysis remotely. Initially, this seemed to us a straight-forward GPS tracking and GIS analysis project. We soon learned that it would be anything but easy. This presentation tells a tale of perseverance and, eventually, a successful outcome to a difficult and unpredictable project.

Presenter(s): 
Bob DenOuden, Lane Council of Governments (LCOG), Eugene, Oregon
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