Free Research Paper On The Future Of Trucking
The truck industry is an integral part of the business because of the fundamental role it plays in the day to day freight transportation both in developed and developing nations of the world. Larson (2009) pointed out that due to features such as flexible vehicle technology and their extensive roadway infrastructure, trucking has a great edge in providing door-to-door delivery of different kinds of freights. Furthermore, the truck driving is one of the major employment opportunity in the United States of America and Canada (Larson, 2009). The statistics showed that the number of truck drivers in United States and Canada are more than 1 million and over 250,000 respectively. The trucking industry provides about 9.7 million jobs in the US alone, with 3.1 million of this figure including truck drivers (Truck,2009).In fact, trucking provides an efficient aid to the multi-billion bilateral trade taking place between the United States of America and Canada.
Irrespective of these aforementioned benefits of trucking, truck industry is facing a lot of challenges including shortage of drivers (Badkar, 2014). The dramatic and rapid globalization, rising fuel prices, increasing austere environmental legislation, saturated markets and so forth are some of the challenges facing the global truck industry (Dressler & Gleisberg, 2009). In addition, how grim these problems are, they do not suggest a gloomy future for the truck industry. In fact, Ebner (2012) pointed out that such challenge in the truck industry as increasing competition will go a long way to compel the equipment manufacturers to adjust their business models. As a matter of fact, the truck industry is tending towards a future of absolute and total fleet transparency, accident-free transportation, increasing competition, highly efficient, silent and emission free trucks. Larson (2009) mentioned that the future of trucking in our environment with increasing concerns on greenhouse gas emissions will depend greatly on the coalescence of vital forces such as public policy, technology, and infrastructure.
Challenges Facing the Truck Industry
The truck industry faces diverse challenges. These challenges are complex and combating these challenges will require strong leadership and decisive actions (Rishi, Gyimesi, Burek, & Monday, 2009). Key players in the industry must make decisive actions in order to achieve the requisite success in the truck industry. The challenges in the industry range from problems of hours of service and driver shortage. It needs compliance with safety, accountability to problems of driver retention, sustainability, environmental issues, driver training and insurance cost (ATRI, 2014; Rishi et al. 2009).
These problems are pivotal especially such as those relating to the environment in question. The growing concern on greenhouse gas emission raises an eyebrow and gives emphasis on the operations and activities of the truck industry. Of course, the cost of freight transportation is expected to be stabilized by such factor as the increasing competition in the industry. The factors like increasing the cost of fuel, shortage of labor and the concerns on greenhouse gas emission are excessive. This is hard to counterbalances the effect of the pressure on the competition resulting even to an increase in freight transportation cost.
Another important challenge facing the truck industry today is compliance, safety and accountability (CSA). ATRI (2014) report reported that in 2010, CSA appeared as a top issue in the trucking industry and according to the report, and one of the most basic issues in CSA is crash accountability. Harrison, Keim, & Pacurar (2012) defined CSA as an initiative of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It is created to reduce fatalities, injuries and crashes in large trucks and buses. In other words, the purpose of CSA is simply to improve safety in commercial vehicles and it ensures safety by providing regulations and laws that drivers need to maintain. CSA caters for a number of issues including fatigue driving, unsafe driving, driver fitness, vehicle maintenance, substance abuse, crash indicator and so forth. However, the major problem with CSA is that it is difficult to comply with the federal safety regulations. This difficulty arises because of truck drivers’ payment structure which makes it difficult to abide by the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. It is imperative to consider that the compliance, safety, and accountability are very much related to Hours of Service. The cores of CSA are associated with data-driven, consistent and attentive that measures the performance of drivers and carriers by using safety management system (SMS).
The criticism surrounding CSA encompass the fact that it is data driven. ATRI (2014) pointed out that the major criticism surrounding CSA involves the method of calculating drivers’ safety. The argument surrounding this usually involves the accuracy linked with calculating the data used. The accuracy of the data leads to misjudging of issues involving accidents and safety in the truck industry.
Review of future truck industry
A number of studies and researches ascertain the future of the truck industry that revealed positive results. Consequently, due to these challenges, it might be suggested that the industry has a gloomy future. Contrary to this, the future of the industry is bright. Technology is an important factor in determining the future of the industry. As Larson, (2009) pointed out, technology comes into play in the construction of highly exclusive trucks designs. This enhances the efficiency, fuel consumption capacity and a lot of other features of the trucks for better freight and cargo transportation. Of particular concern is greenhouse gas emission and this is an interesting aspect in which technologically enhanced trucks would tackle. Such trucks equipped with efficient engines and excellent designs are proposed to go a long way in offering better prospects to the truck industry. It is quite interesting to note that the future of trucking is not farfetched, it is at the doorpost.
Brumfield (2014) predicted that with the future truck 2025 produced by the Mercedes, one can even surf the web while driving the future truck. The features of the future truck, 2025 were well elaborated by Menzies (2014). According to the report, the truck has no headlights, no rearview mirrors, and no grille. The truck took advantage of the state of the art technologies of the modern time. The report also revealed that the interior and exterior design of the future truck is superb. The top-notch features built into the truck maximizes the safety, and the future of trucking tends towards fuel-efficiency, safety, and innovation.
Fuel efficiency is a fundamental issue in trucking and studies show that this would be met in the truck of the future. The need for fuel efficiency increases as the day goes by and this makes maximizing fuel efficiency a critical issue in trucking. It is important to meet the future anticipated need with the use of safe and fuel efficient transport system. This makes feasible high-quality trucks designed for the future comes into play.
Obviously, the future of trucking requires innovative technology and such exclusive technological advancement is essential in maintaining and improving efficiency in trucking. This is quite consistent to what Larson (2009) said in asserting that the future of trucking in such an environment is associated with increasing concerns on greenhouse gas emissions. This will depend greatly on the coalescence of vital forces such as public policy, technology, and infrastructure. Furthermore, Rishi et al. (2009) asserted that efficiency of trucking is crucial in systems such as the engine and auxiliary systems of trucks. Thus, to ensure innovation in a significant sense of it, it is important to give a footprint of efficiency in all aspects of trucking especially the aforementioned systems. To achieve an excellent result in efficiency and multidimensional performance of trucking, the use of the latest technologies is quite essential. Of course, the latest technologies is imperative in producing some of the top notch propulsion systems essential to the future of trucking. The plug-in hybrid and hybrid trucks can be presented as a good example.
The importance of technology to the future of trucking cannot be overstated. The innovative technologies such as alternative power trains and retrofitting, anti-idling and so forth are essential technology that would be required in ensuring excellent results in the future of trucking (Rishi et al., 2009).These technologies would play vital roles towards causing absolute and overall enhancement in the green transportation in trucking systems. The world wants to go green and, of course, the need for green technology would be more critical in the future. This is why, the discussion of the future of trucking would simply be incomplete without taking into account the trend and progression towards green transport systems in the truck industry. Hybrid integration is the hope of the future trucking and, of course, to achieve the dream of the future. A concerted effort in the trucking industry would be required including truck manufacturers and also down to the chains of drivers.
Power-train development is one of the pivots of the future of trucking. The development of power train is even made much more critical with the increasing need to limit strict emission. The hybridization is an important concept to the future of trucking especially with the growing needs and concerns to reduce the emission of carbon, as well as dependence on fossil fuels in automobiles. (Rishi. et al.,2009) . Hence, the application of such devices as pure or plug-in electric power trains becomes quite pronounced, and the industrial application finds relevance in ports as well as in-city delivery services. The future of trucking will be greatly shaped by factors like hybridization and regenerative braking technologies. Indeed, the industry is fast changing, and various factors are going to be compatible to meet the teeming needs of trucking future. The technological advances relating to hybridization would be prevalent in developed markets. Consequently, a number of researches conducted on hybrid electric trucks and related technologies have proved to be quite successful (Rishi et al. 2009).
However, at the present, the development of trucks with improved emission control system is hampered by the fact that people are not willing to pay more for the clean technology. (Dressler & Gleisberg, 2009). Although this is anticipated to change with the passage of time, it does hamper growth in the truck industry at present. Furthermore, one of the factors that is expected to drive the need for cleaner emission system up is regulation. Dressler & Gleisberg (2009) further pointed out that due to strict emission standards, the convergence of power-train concept will be pushed. Of course, technology and policy are very vital in the future of trucking. Both has to go hand in hand in order to ensure that the future takes the appropriate shape as supposed. Any lag in either of these factors can go a long way to truncate the future in a great way.
It is necessary to outline that the major factor distinguishing triad markets from emerging ones is technology. The manufacturers in emerging markets still need to master the available technologies before they will be able to compete favorably and effectively just like manufacturers in triad markets. However, as Dressler & Gleisberg (2009) predicted that manufacturers in emerging markets master the quality and affordability by focusing on technology before 2020. The immense role of technology has to be played in the future of trucking that would involve the stakeholders in the trucking industry. Further, it is imperative to evaluate that the future of the truck industry is a global one as it crisscrosses every market including the hitherto emerging markets and already established ones.
Brand redefinition is vital for trucks of the future and one of the most important features required to ensure its telematics. Rishi et al. (2009) pointed out that truck manufacturers would be able to redefine better and differentiate their brands by bringing in telematics in the manufacturing processes. To achieve the desired results in telematics, it should be geared or channeled in some important aspects of trucking that bothers on the customers. These include many regulatory compliance, service, drivers’ assistance, safety, and sustainability. Boodlal & Chiang (2009) defined telematics as a technology that combines telecommunication and global positioning system (GPS) information such location and time. This information and technology are used in the monitor the performances of the driver and vehicle in question. The study pointed out that with the efficient use of telematics, it is possible to ensure effective fuel management and enhanced safety in the truck industry.
This exceptional result can be achieved with the use of modern technologies in automobiles as well as state of the art in-vehicle tools to boost the operation processes of vehicles. However, as Boodlal & Chiang (2009) further pointed out that these technologies are seldom used alone. They are usually paired with some specialized systems that provides drivers' feedback, trainings and so forth. In telematics, technologies built into vehicles are combined with state of the art web application technologies in order to effectively monitor drivers' behaviors and also obtain feedbacks in real time. In addition, the programs facilitate in providing positive motivations to drivers to help in changing drivers’ attitudes and behaviors. Obviously, drivers' behaviors have lots of roles to play in safety and fuel consumption. A lot of costs can be saved by minimizing fuel consumption and also in maintaining safety. This is why, telematics is such an important aspect of trucking future.
Connected vehicle system is one of the top features that would characterize the future of trucking. To ensure efficiency and improved performance, truck manufacturers would focus on building connected vehicles with enhanced systems. More so, the desired heights to be achieved in the use of connected vehicles. The barriers facing connected vehicle system would have to be dealt with, and these barriers are mostly technological. In other words, it becomes apparent once again that the presumed feature of trucking would be an impossible feat without improved technologies. It is, therefore, pertinent that truck manufacturers collaborate in order to produce connected trucks that would solve the future needs in the trucking industry. Such collaboration would be relevant in ensuring that the right standards are developed, and the desired future of trucking actualized (Rishi et al., 2009). Moreover, long combination vehicle (LCV) holds many prospects of success in the future of trucking. The advantages of LCV over other forms of trucks are quite obvious because such vehicles use less fuel than other kinds of trucks. It also reduced fuel consumption translates to a lot of other benefits reduction in the cost of transport and the emission of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas (Larson, 2009). Furthermore, long combination vehicles are safer than other kinds of trucks and with the increasing need for safety, it makes sense to invest in such trucks.
The future of trucking cannot be complete without taking into account the policy. No matter how important technology is, its relevance is still subject to the policy of a given country or region. The success and failure of the truck industry depend greatly on the policy of a country. As a matter of fact, changes in national regulation will go a long way to determining the day to day operations of truck industry and invariably it will determine the kind of trucks manufactured by truck manufacturers. The concerns regarding carbon dioxide emission becoming critical in the world today. The changes in national regulation in this regards would go a long way to compel truck manufacturers to manufacture trucks that would encourage reduced emission of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Furthermore, the future trucks will observe increasing application of truck technologies in order to meet up with the stringent safety regulations that would be imposed by various nations. Some of these automotive technologies such as stability modules, traffic sign recognition faces some challenges which need to be resolved (Ebner, 2012).
No doubts, the emission system of the future trucks is also an important point to consider. Ebner (2012) pointed out that the European commercial vehicle manufacturers have successfully cut the fuel consumption of their products by more than 30 percent since the 1970s.They also are bent on achieving even much more reduction in fuel consumption capacity in the future. It is expected that a further 20% improvement in fuel efficiency will be achieved by the year 2020. Significantly, future of trucking is indeed bright, and this is facilitated by increasing technologies, policies as well as infrastructures.
The paper examined the challenges facing the truck industry today and also where the industry is expected to be in the future with 2020 used as a point of reference. It is identified that the future truck would have top features such as efficiency and reduced environmental impact. It would have features that encourage drivers' comfort and safety and so forth. Efficiency is achieved with better designed and improved technologies such as better aerodynamics properties in trucks. Reduced environmental impact would ensure the reduction in the emission of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and therefore minimizing the environmental footprint. It is necessary to state that these features as mentioned above regarding the future trucks cannot in any way be achieved without improved technologies. Some of the available technologies at present has to be enhanced in order to achieve the desired future of trucking.This calls for effective collaboration between manufacturers of trucks and equipment in order to make these technologies possible and, therefore, achieve the desired future. The truck industry faces a number of challenges today, but it is imperative to consider that these challenges are stepping stones to success.
ATRI, (2014). Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry (pp. 1-18). Arlington, VA: The American Transportation Research Institute. Retrieved from http://atri-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ATRI-2014-Top-Industry-Issues-Report-FINAL.pdf
Badkar, M. (2014). There's A Huge Shortage of Truck Drivers in America, Here's Why The Problem Is Only Getting Worse. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/americas-truck-driver-shortage-2014-7?IR=T
Boodlal, L., & Chiang, K. (2014). Study of the Impact of a Telematics System on Safe and Fuel-efficient Driving in Trucks. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved March 25, 2015 from http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/51000/51800/51836/13-020-Study_of_the_Impact_of-a_Telematics_System_Full_Report.pdf
Dressler, N & Gleisberg J, (2009). Truck industry 2020: The future is global. Retrieved March 25, 2015 from http://www.rolandberger.de/media/pdf/Roland_Berger_Truck_industry_2020_20110215.pdf
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Harrison, H., Keim, C., & Pacurar, I. (2012). Labor Market Impacts of Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) on the Trucking Industry: Supply and Demand Issues for the Future (pp. 1-77). Memphis, Tennessee: The University of Memphis. Retrieved from http://www.memphis.edu/ifti/pdfs/cifts_labor_impacts_of_csa.pdf
Larson P. (2009). The Future of Trucking. Retrieved March 25, 2015 from https://umanitoba.ca/facilities/management/ti/media/HwyNews_winter09(pgs26-29)Proof3_4.pdf
Menzies J. (2014). Truck News: Is this the future of trucking?. Retrieved March 24, 2015 from http://www2.trucknews.com/digital-edition/download/?pdf=TN-DE-11012014.pdf
Rishi, S., Gyimesi, K., Burek, C., & Monday, M. (2009). Truck 2020: Transcending turbulence (pp. 1-18). IBM Global Business Services. Retrieved from http://www-05.ibm.com/de/automotive/downloads/truck-2020.pdf
Truck. (2009). In Microsoft Encarta 2009 Encyclopedia.
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