Indicators (I): The importance of the context

In the next post we are going to embrace one of the key elements of an EDMS: The indicators. But before going deeper in the indicators themselves, we’ll discuss two concepts that determine them: the context and the baselines. This post is for the first of them. 

Efficient driving is greatly influenced by multiple factors in addition to the driver’s own behavior, such as: 

  • Type and condition of the vehicle. 
  • Specific time and day and associated factors: Cargo transported, traffic density, route or weather, among others. 

This set of dynamic factors is called context. As an example, next figure shows the actual consumption of the same vehicle and on the same route (regular bus service) and how they vary according to the time and day. In this case, they reflect higher consumption in the afternoon, having a totally different behaviour on Sunday. 

The lesson learned is that every successful EDMS must consider the context in its indicators, otherwise it’ll fail.  

The consequence is that the assessment or performance of a driver must be independent of the service he or she performs, and a driver can achieve the same level of performance in any of them. 

That is why when choosing a technological system for the monitoring and assistance of an EDMS, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that they take into account the context of driving through the different sources of information and therefore guarantee through the indicators and recommendations are fair and adapted to the reality of the operator. 

And as with most things in life, the best is enemy of the good. So, we can’t expect having the perfect context either. It would be impossible or very expensive to achieve, and worthless the huge effort. For example, for an urban bus operator the line, time and day, vehicle or passengers transported can be key elements of the context whereas the usage of dipped headlights can have minor impact comparing to the others and the cost of measuring it. 

In the next post we’ll go through the important concept of baselines, also influenced by the context. 

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