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Talking Freight - Trucking Industry Traveler Information - Resources and Needs

July 17, 2013

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Nicholas Kehoe
Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Talking Freight Seminar Series. My name is Nick Kehoe and I will moderate today's seminar. Today's topic is Trucking Industry Traveler Information: Resources and Needs. Before I go any further, I do want to let those of you who are calling into the teleconference for the audio know that you need to mute your computer speakers or else you will be hearing your audio over the computer as well. Also, before we get into today's topic, I'm going to turn it over to Chip Millard of the FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations to talk a little bit about the 10 year history of Talking Freight and then give an introduction to today's topic.

Chip Millard
Just a couple of brief things I want to mention before we get to the webinar: Today, or actually this month, is the ten-year anniversary of the Talking Freight Webinar. I'm proud to mention that as a member of the FHWA Freight Office. The first webinar was on July 23, 2003, and we've had well over 100 webinars in the ten years since then. Over 13,500 attendees have participated since 2004 in these webinars (and that includes special session webinars we've had in addition to the regular webinars). The number of attendees has generally increased over that time. In 2012 there were 39% more attendees than in 2004, and we have dramatically increased our average number of attendees for our regular webinars in 2013 relative to that first year we tracked that information in 2004. We appreciate everyone's interest and we hope for continued growth in the years to come.

The second item I wanted to mention to some degree ties into today's Talking Freight webinar topic. During a future Talking Freight webinar, most likely in late 2013 or early 2014, we're going to have a webinar focused on the Freight Advanced Traveler Information System, or FRATIS. This is an effort that the US Department of transportation is working on. It is intended to optimize freight transportation flows by utilizing both public and private sector transportation information. There will be a prototype program that will test FRATIS in three locations - Dallas, Los Angeles, and south Florida - for 6 months starting in September 2013. This program has similarities to the topic we will be covering in today's webinar. FRATIS is a little more focused right now on optimizing short-haul freight movements to and from both water ports and inland ports, whereas today's webinar is more focused on longer haul truck movements, but there's still a lot of overlap. FRATIS is intended to include longer haul freight movements in the future. If you're interested in today's topic and find it interesting, I encourage you to attend the webinar that will be focused on FRATIS.

There are two other things I want to mention. First, we will be posting in the chat box on the right a link to some information somewhat related to truck traveler information. Section 1511 of MAP-21 focuses on provisions covering emergency response, emergency events, and trucking operations during emergency events. Second, we will also post a question in the chat box asking about federal register notices and planned interstate closures. We'd like to get some feedback as to whether or not you utilize those notices to learn about interstate closuresI will now turn it back over to Nick, thank you.

Nicholas Kehoe
Thanks Chip. Today we'll have five presenters: Tony Ernest and Reggie Phipps from the Idaho Transportation Department, Guy Welton from Werner Enterprises, and Joyce Brenny and Sarah Hanebuth of Brenny Transportation.

Tony Ernest is the Traveler Services Coordinator for the Idaho Transportation Department, responsible for Idaho's 511 Traveler Information websites and phone system. Tony has been with ITD for the last twenty years, working with computerized systems in its Financial Services, Maintenance Services, and Mobility Services sections. He has been responsible for ITD's 511 system for the past five years.

Reggie Phipps has been with the Idaho Transportation Department for over 24 years with over 20 of that as the Vehicle Size & Weight Specialist overseeing the Overlegal Permitting Program. Reggie has over 10 years' experience writing specifications and implementing/ managing various web automated programs and over 20 years of proposing, developing, drafting and presenting/testifying on changes to Idaho Code, Administrative Rules, Operating Policies and Procedures and automated systems usage training and working with and testifying before the Idaho Legislature. She served 8 years as the Vice Chairman of WASHTO Committee on Highway Transport and served on other various regional and national committees, teams and projects.

Guy Welton is Vice President of Operations for Werner Enterprise. He has been with Werner since 1987 after graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. In his 26 years with the company, he has held responsibilities in Fleet Management, Customer Service, Load Planning, and Business Process Improvement. In his current position, he and his team are primarily responsible for the management of the Drivers and Tractors operating in the 48 States.

Joyce Brenny is the founder and CEO of Brenny Transportation, Inc. located in St. Cloud, Minnestoa. Brenny Transportation is a Certified Women Business Enterprise founded in 1996. Brenny Transportation is an asset based 3PL which runs a fleet of 50 Over the Road trucks through their sister company Brenny Specialized, Inc. Joyce is also the immediate past chair of the Minnesota Trucking Association.

Sarah Hanebuth is the former team lead of Brenny's asset based division and currently holds the position of Safety director at Brenny.

Today's seminar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes allocated for the speakers, and the final 30 minutes for audience Question and Answer. If during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the chat area. Please make sure you send your question to "Everyone" and indicate which presenter your question is for. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will start off the question and answer session with the questions typed into the chat box. If we run out of time and are unable to address all questions we will attempt to get written responses from the presenters to the unanswered questions.

The PowerPoint presentations used during the seminar are available for download from the file download box in the lower right corner of your screen. The presentations will also be available online within the next few weeks, along with a recording and a transcript. I will notify all attendees once these materials are posted online.

One final note: Talking Freight seminars are eligible for 1.5 certification maintenance credits for AICP members. In order to obtain credit for today's seminar, you must have logged in with your first and last name or if you are attending with a group of people you must type your first and last name into the chat box. I have included more detailed instructions in the file share box on how to obtain your credits after the seminar. Today's webinar is not yet available on the AICP web site but I will send out a notice once it is.

For those of you who are not AICP members but would like to receive PDH credits for this webinar, please note that FHWA does not formally offer PDFs, however, it may be possible to receive PDHs for your participation in Talking Freight if you are able to self-certify. To possibly receive PDHs, please download the agenda from the file download box and submit this agenda to your respective licensing agency.

Finally, I encourage everyone to please also download the evaluation form from the file share box and submit this form to me after you have filled it out. With that, we will get started with today's topic. I will turn it over to Tony and Reggie to begin the first presentation.

Tony Ernest
Hello, this is Tony Ernest and I will be kicking things off here. I will turn it over to Reggie about halfway through. We will be covering Idaho's 511 trucker's page offerings. Basically, since we have first brought up the 511 system in Idaho, we've had a very close partnership with our commercial vehicle services team-- that is our permit folks who permit the oversize loads. We decided early on that we would want a specialized set of products targeted directly at the commercial vehicle services users to give the truckers the information that they needed in their day-to-day operations. In our current partnership, we have maintenance and construction personnel entering information on the work that they are doing on the Idaho state highway system. That information goes directly into the 511 system for use by our permit folks, and for use by the truckers.

All of the information that is in these trucker specialized products is the same pool of information that we use to display to the general public and in our 511 system. It's filtered a little differently and presented a little differently. We try to select only those particular events that are of interest to the commercial vehicle services folks, and we try to organize that in such a way so they can identify the information and the source of information. We have three basic products with this general philosophy in mind: The first is 511 phone systems. We have a specific menu option for truckers to use and once they enter that menu option, they can select the specific highway they're interested in and share information on anything that might be a closure along that section of highway, or any weight, height, or length restrictions that might apply. The other two products that we have are web-based; we have a low bandwidth website which is targeted towards those who might not have all that a robust connection speed, such as those that are using tablets or even smart phones, as well as people with dial-up connections on their computers. It uses static maps to display truck restriction information and other information we have available, and it is geared toward fast loading. The other product that we have is a full-featured high-bandwidth version, which is more robust in a lot of ways. It uses a basic Google Map interference, so anyone who's familiar with Google Maps can use it fairly easily. The drawback to that is that it requires a fairly robust connection speed, but as long as you've got that it works remarkably well. With regard to the features that we have in our system- first of all, the information that we selected for the truckers in general is any kind of road closure. That includes: closures for winter road conditions, closures for accidents, or the occasional construction close. We have commercial vehicle restrictions: height, width, length, and gross weight. We specifically pick up information on axle load limits that relate to the springtime freezing and thawing cycles which weaken pavements and cause temporary limits on the current weight of vehicles. The local parlance here is "spring break up," and you'll see that on the website when I show you in a second here. Finally, on the websites we have truck escape ramp locations posted.

Other information that might be of interest to truckers is easy to navigate to on the website. This includes winter road conditions during winter driving season, mountain pass conditions, and web cameras. I've got some other features listed on this PowerPoint slide. I think this would be a good time to move over to a live demonstration to the website. Nick if you could give me control for that, please?

Can you see the website now?

Nicholas Kehoe
We can see it now.

Tony Ernest
This is our splash page. People who type in 511.idaho.gov come to this website - this initial splash page which lets them navigate to the specific product that they might be interested in. Right here in the center are the two products that we will be looking at today. The upper one is the low bandwidth trucker's page and the other one is the high-bandwidth version. I'll go to the low bandwidth version first. You can see here we've got on display a couple of road closures. There's a banner flying that shows there are closures on US 30 and US 93. We also have important commercial vehicle restrictions posted and you can see the truck ramps. At the statewide view, you would only see those events that we have decided that are most important. If you zoom in a little bit, you get some of the smaller less important icons. We don't display those at the statewide view in order to avoid clutter. By clicking on the individual events, you can get full descriptions of the particular event in question including the commercial vehicle relevant information which is bolded. By clicking on one of these truck ramp icons you can get information on the steepness of the grade, the location, any other information that might be relevant. You can click on individual highways to get a list of events that might apply to that particular highway. For the high-bandwidth, I will show you a little bit before it turned it over to Reggie for more details. This again is based on a Google Maps, which means you can click or double-click to zoom in, you can grab it and move it around to the particular view that you want, and here you can see that you can turn on or off some the icon sets that were not necessarily immediately available on low bandwidth site.

By clicking on a particular button that wasn't shown to you on that particular view you can get future events as opposed to current, which are displayed here as well, and these are calendar icons. These are not currently active, but they should start soon. I can turn on the mountain pass icons which show the various mountain passes in Idaho. By clicking on those icons we can get all of that information. If we have a camera located, you get the camera views, weather information and elevation information as well.

You can also turn on our set of cameras, we have a fairly robust set of rural roadway cameras and by clicking on any of these you can get roadway views and current weather conditions as well.

Some features that are available in this, (I will just give you a real quick view. Reggie will go into more details), but users can pick a specific route that they might be interested in. I'm going to type in a route from Boise to Idaho Falls and it gives a list of all the relevant events along that route. It works very much like Google Get Directions, which means if you don't like that particular route you can explore alternate routes. For each alternate route, as you bring it up you can get information on the restrictions that apply there. One other aspect of this high-bandwidth site is that users have the option of not only creating routes to look at, but saving them in their own personalized account. An individual trucker can do this if he has a truck route that he runs multiple times a month. A dispatcher could save routes as well. And finally, if they've established an account and saved an individual route, they can set the system up to give them live notifications of events that happened on their saved route. If you get live notifications of the road closure, an accident up ahead, changes to the restrictions and that sort of thing.

At this point, I will go ahead and turn the hot seat over to my partner, Reggie and she will give you an overview about how the permit section uses this product in day-to-day operations. Reggie?

Reggie Phipps
Thanks, Tony. Hello everybody, my name is Reggie. Our staff uses this high-bandwidth site because it is more user friendly and gives them all of the current and future restrictions at the same time. This has been the best thing for our staff, as it used to be that our district offices in which we have six different districts within the state, would send this information into our office, we would have to type this information into the computer and then print out copies for staff to utilize and determine whether there would be any restrictions and require rerouting of the vehicle to move within and through the state of Idaho.

This saves us a tremendous amount of time and effort to have one quick location to use this information. We also had to do the same thing with spring break up once our district started putting out restrictions on axle weights and certain highways. Again, that information was sent into our office, typed up, and mailed out to all of the customers so that they could be provided those restricted highway updates. Also, this is a really good thing for annual customers; we do have a lot of annual oversized overweight permits. When the carrier has that annual permit they become responsible for verifying if there are any restrictions they should not be going through. This is also on our map and attachment information that we put with our permits informing them to go to the 511 site to get that information on width, height, or length restrictions that would require them to reroute their load.

When staff comes in, of course they click on the road reports tab. Our most popular highways are listed here at the top so if you just want to do a quick click of one of those, rather than opening up the whole list. When it comes up we break up the highway system into segments so we have the ability to see if a restriction is there or not and when clicking on it will show you exactly on the map where it is. This is also really good for staff just learning the highway system, and helps to reinforce where those highways are within the state and whether the carrier is actually going on this highway or not. This one I clicked on here happens to be for future restrictions, so it will say that it is starting on Saturday. It's going to be a motorcycle ride coming through, or every time there's a parade or bike event, any of those kinds of things are also put on our 511 system as well.

And then we have another segment so you can just look at each one of those. If you go to the full list of highways then it comes up looking like this. If you can see that there are no reports, it immediately lets staff know there is no need to look at that highway nor does the motor carrier. You can find whether there are restrictions. It's a good reference tool to quickly determine if there's any restrictions out there or not.

Another thing that we have as well is we only permit for one county within the state and that happens to be Ada County. We also have the Ada County site on here that has all of their restrictions and cameras and information. If that customer is traveling in the Boise area, then they can use that as a reference tool as well and So can staff, for any construction that's going on to make sure that we are not sending them through construction project within that particular county.

All of the other counties that carrier would be traveling through would be responsible for getting their permit and getting any construction restrictions information that could be out there.

Tony showed the hover feature where you can quickly get information, and of course if you click on it jumps right to that restriction. You don't have to go look for it. The restrictions jumps right out to staff and to the carriers to make a quick determination as they are scrolling through these, and going my load is 14 feet wide and that 13 so I can't go through there. So it works as a really good and fast reference tool for that.

It's been great for our staff to have this information just in one location. We quickly decided that there is other information, as Tony as discussed earlier, with possible cameras, mountain passes, and weather stations. With the high-bandwidth site, you can get to it directly from here and not have to go out to the regular website. Where was with the low bandwidth site, you kind of have to get that information from somewhere else. We require that our staff uses the high-bandwidth site. It was really great when we were able to get this next version and get the high-bandwidth site because it's definitely user-friendly for staff work and any other staff like POE enforcement personnel can sign up for the traffic alerts so that all of the permit staff signed up, we get alerts 24/7 so any time the district staff go out and make a change, we get an alert into our e-mail so that also brings attention to staff that he something change of here, you need to go look and see what the changes are. Yesterday, the restriction was 12 feet and for some reason now it went down to 11 feet. That's an easy way for them to be made aware that just because what it was yesterday doesn't mean it always stays that way. The same goes for carriers that sign up with that, they have a particular highway and they would immediately be notified if there were new restrictions or changes to those restrictions. The only downside is we don't get an alert when a restriction goes off. We have to be constantly looking out there to see if it's coming off on approximately this day, and make sure that it has gone off? We know with projects they can go either shorter or longer, but that's another thing we kind of have our districts try to put in there. That approximate date of when it's going to end, so that if the carrier is planning a load we are trying to do a permit, that we can say this is supposed to be off approximately at this time and again too with the future restriction, it's got go on at a certain time. That gives us flexibility to say 'okay, if you can move before this date, then we might be able to get you through. After this date it's going to be restricted.' And the same thing with it's going to end approximately this time, so move, then we may not have to route you up and around and take a scenic tour of the state.

The staff absolutely loves this. We've gotten rave reports from our carriers that they have this information available to you. They can look up that information and sign up for alerts. They are absolutely thrilled to death to have that and it's less phone calls we get because they have that information at their fingertips. Where when we had paper copies, the only way they would get it is to call and ask us because back in the old days we didn't have the web and all the nice tools that we have these days. So, that's our presentation there for us and our system and the main functions of it. So thank you.

Nicholas Kehoe
Thank you Tony and Reggie. Our next presentation will be given by Guy Welton from Werner Enterprises.

Guy Welton
First of all, Tony and Reggie thank you for all that you guys have done. You put together such a fantastic website presentation of the truckers, that information is very valuable, current and useful. So thank you for all of your contributions in that regard. Also I very much appreciate the invitation to participate in this webinar, the subject is fantastic. There certainly are some real challenges to providing drivers with current road and travel information and I believe there is a lot of opportunity out there for all of us in the transportation industry to get better at making the job easier for drivers and easier on the roadways and everybody who is on it.

What I'd like to do first of all is just make sure that everybody understands who we are and what it we do here at Werner Enterprises, and I'll be fairly quick with that. Warner Enterprises was founded in 1956. Our main headquarters is in Omaha Nebraska, and as far as our services that we provide, we are a provider of transportation logistics services, specializing in truckload, intermodal, less than truckload, ocean and air services. Our 2012 revenue was about $2 billion, 2013 is expected to be slightly north of that. We run 7300 tractors and our trailer count is right around 23,580. Some of the different points you see on the map is where we basically provide services. The red dots are where we are headquartered at, whether it is our corporate location there in Omaha or our global logistics offices throughout the world.

One thing that I would like to define is: what is the truckload carrier? The truckload carrier really is defined as a customer hires us, they are basically asking for a 53-foot trailer being completely loaded and delivered directly to another location. Of our 7300 trucks that we run, 90 % of them are company-owned and about 10% are owner operators or contractors. A little bit more about our business model, when I started with the company we were only about 800 trucks and we are predominantly a one-way truckload carrier. We have branched out into all a different types of modes of transportation, basically upon the request of our customers so we are involved in all kinds of logistics, dedicated operations which is best defined as we will allocate X number of trucks to a customer we may handle portion of the transportation needs or all of their transportation needs and then of course at the bottom of the graphs you see our one-way truckload. The main thing I want to point out there is about 72 % of all of our revenue is generated by the 7300 trucks that we have out there that are running predominantly in the 48 states. We also do go up into Canada but obviously we have a lot of trucks in all states. That's a little bit about us.

With all those numbers, that many trucks and drivers that we have, we have about 9000 drivers that we employ, it is obviously imperative we have the right tools in place for drivers to be informed, successful and safe. Our simple goals for providing routing and travel is to make sure that it is accurate, prompt, it's comprehensive. When I talk about comprehensive, I'm talking about is the routing that we are providing to our drivers taking, are we taking in to consideration as many factors as it should be? We need to make sure all drivers have what they need; they're getting it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With that in a mind, we certainly have to rely upon technology. Yes, we are a fairly large company and we have a lot of bodies, but technology is necessary to assist you if you're going to be as efficient as you wish to be. So we have to rely heavily upon technology. Certainly we are not at the finish line. We have a long ways to go, but we feel that the industry and Werner has got some good platforms to be building off of. The main things that I want to talk about today, beyond just the technical improvement, is: What do we do with some of the old fashion personal communication methods, our trucks on board communication devices, the navigation tools, and just improvement opportunities that we all have and I will sporadically comment on those throughout these different sections.

The more conventional personal communication is pretty fundamental. It doesn't take a lot of explanation, but in the office communication with the non-driving work force, much of the information, the data that we are looking for is coming from weather websites, DOT websites, news events, driver feedback and general e-mail communication that's happening within the organization.

As far as the methods, every type of event dictates what it is that we are going to do. For some of those less impactful events that a relatively isolated, and short-term in nature, will rely on individual communication to our drivers, whether that be on the phone, or a message to the onboard communication device. I will give an explanation. On long-term routing issues we will certainly take some extra steps such as sending out what we call a fleet wide message that goes out to all of our drivers on the onboard communication device that informs them and basically gives a red flag alert saying we've got something major that could impact them. What you are seeing now is the onboard communication device. It's a picture of QUALCOMM's MCP200. There is a lot of communication between our headquarters and out trucks through these devices. We are gathering information on the truck and driver performance. It's 100% of our trucks. The main uses are communication of dispatch information, but we also use it for electronic logging of our driver's hours of service. Also, of course, is the subject at hand, we use it for navigation. This picture here is also the MPC 200; it's just without the keyboard slid out. Now going forward, the main content of what I want to present and discuss is the use of navigation tools. A navigation tool is provided by a company called Telogis. Specifically the navigation product is called Navigo. Here this picture is an actual route; it's a live navigation tool that continually updates as the truck is moving. I don't want to sound like a sales representative, I'm not any type of expert in navigation, but I do want to speak to the fundamentals and to the benefits that it provides. Certainly there are other navigation vendors out there, other navigation software, Telogis just happens to be the one that we use. We feel that they're one of the best and we've had a long-term relationship with the company.

As far as how the product works, I would like to get into that. And if you would focus on those three vertical lines and the detail that each of those lines encompass. Starting on with left vertical line, many of you are aware that there are the standard personal navigation devices out there such as the Garmins and Tom-Toms that many truckers actually have in their trucks, and they are not built for trucks. We have a policy that we tell our drivers that do not want them to use those. Yes, they can be helpful but they can also be wrong and they can be dangerous for trucks because they can be putting them on roads that they are not meant for.

I would also state that those personal GPS are only as current as their last update. Now the middle vertical line is what I would call an enhanced standard personal navigation device, but it is specialized for trucks. It is better than the standard personal GPS, but it doesn't take as much into consideration as a company needs. What we're trying to do is minimize that to make sure we are giving our drivers the most practical and safe route. Moving over to the third vertical line, you can see it has all of the other devices, but they are taking into consideration a lot of different safety aspects. Elevation, number of turns, turn types, turn radius. And as you can probably conclude, the more turns that you have, the more right-hand turns that you have, the sharper the turning radius, the more the intersections you have to go through the higher chance that you could have some type of accident or incident. One last comment on the slide is that it is a dynamic tool. It's not one that is static and you have to wait for an update you are able make any changes to routing.

In summary, as far as what intelligence it provides us, it is accurate data; you have the ability to update data in real time, some of those different factors you can see listed there. We can put in our different routing preferences, and set a bunch of different parameters on how you want to route your trucks. They take into consideration driver feedback, weather, news, road closures, catastrophic events, and they also access many of the State DOT websites to be able to make sure that their network is current and accurate.

So that's what they do when seeking or looking for information to update their database. They also have this community concept where they are continually getting feedback from people on the road, specifically truck drivers. One of the options that all our drivers have is the feedback button that goes directly to their company, their company will look at that feedback that was provided to the driver, evaluate the validity to it, and reach out to the carriers and let those carriers know that these are some the modifications they are making for whatever duration it may be and some of what some of those alternate routes are going to be.

It's a flexible program. Certainly we can tune it by fleet, or cost divisions in total. We can also look at each individual subdivision that we have within our company even down to the driver level. We have the ability to on our own preference, change a route or close down a road based upon events happening, which they call road modifiers. The POI's or points of interest, a lot of that is just what you prefers the company, what you'd like to provide to the drivers as far as points of interest.

This next slide is basically a map that represents all of the happenings of Hurricane Sandy back in October 2012. I think it serves as a very good example of how helpful this product is. Hurricane Sandy's impact lasted for a long period of time, I believe in total there was about 55 road closures that took place, and with minimal effort on our part we are able to every hour give an update as they needed it. Again, this is a live navigation, so as updates are being put into the system, the drivers are getting the rerouting based upon what has been changed on the current conditions. I think that serves as a good example. Without this tool, the communication of 7300 trucks, 9000 drivers, and making sure that it happens with all of that needed, you can try to do that manually but it would be near impossible. So it provides great benefits to making sure that we are giving comprehensive routing information to our drivers.

Again, updates every one every two hours. I mentioned earlier that they tracked over 55 major road closures, most of them down at the time that they shut down and reopened them, all of that adjusted the routes and it affected 1165 miles of freeway. In summary, yes we go the old-school route making sure that we are communicating with our drivers over the phone, individual messages to the drivers over the device, after we look into all of the different sources that we have. The real future, I believe is navigation tools. And with these different navigation vendors that are out there, I focused on one, but there may be some navigation providers on this call. How well those navigational companies I guess subscribe or access the DOT websites to make sure that their routing tools are providing immediate alerts and routing adjustments to the drivers, the easier it is for the large carriers and even the small carriers, it will make our job much easier, the drivers jobs easier, and our roadways safer and it's a step in the right direction. At this point, that's all that I have, I thank you for the opportunity.

Nicholas Kehoe
Thank you Guy. Our final presentation will be given by Joyce Brenny and Sarah Hanebuth of Brenny Transportation.

Joyce Brenny
Thank you, Nick. I'm the president of Brenny Transportation, and helping me today is Sarah, who is currently our safety director and has many years of experience as a former team lead in the dispatch department. I have over 30 years of experience in the trucking and logistics industry. I would also like to mention that I am the former chair of the Minnesota Trucking Association and still hold a position on the Board of Directors. The reason that I became involved was many years ago as a former driver; I knew I had to become an advocate and a voice for the professional truck driver. I made it a mission to bring their thoughts, ideas, and concerns to a higher level, to our government officials. Being in the Minnesota Trucking Association it has become a great tool to get in the door and get the truckers voices heard. Thank you for inviting me today because I believe this is another important tool to get the truckers information across to the folks that can hopefully help them perform their job in a more efficient and safe manner.

Currently, Brenny has approximately 50 power units and we feel that this allows us the privilege to personally assist our drivers. At the size of 50 power units, it really does give us an advantage to safety and communication with our drivers. Mainly Brenny is a flatbed specialized freight hauler and we do travel to forty nine states as well as Canada. Over a five-year average we like to brag about the fact that we've had a 93% drivers retention and we're pretty proud of this fact. The goal at Brenny is eyes on the road for safety. Keeping the freight moving is of course very important, but keeping our drivers safe is the highest priority to Brenny. All professional truck drivers are the experts on the road we are the support group behind the scenes. That's how we view it at our company. This in turn has also awarded Brenny the Great West Platinum Safety Award of 2013 which is Great West's highest honor in safety. We have achieved quite a few accomplishments with our wonderful driving staff and continue to work hard together as a team. I will turn it over to Sarah.

Sarah Hanebuth
Thank you. While working as team lead of dispatch, the following are tools that we found very helpful for dispatch. The first three are something that we use in dispatch to pass on to our drivers. The first website is the Federal Highway administration, it has the national traffic and road closure information. We are very grateful for the convenient list of all the states websites for both traffic and weather. It's a very helpful tool that we utilize. We've also utilized Google Maps, we use that to verify routes, find one-way streets, and it helps us tremendously to help our lost drivers there and get them back on track. We also utilize it to see if toll roads are helping, or if maybe taking an alternate route would be more cost-effective for our company. Of course the good old Atlas, it's a good tool for drivers to use when obviously they are parked so they can find check out their route to their next destination. We also utilize GPS, live traffic updates that help drivers determine if they should take an alternate route ahead of schedule. I will turn it to Joyce.

Joyce Brenny
Currently, our company runs McLeod Software and this is a very efficient tool for our company. We use part of our company software to enter customer location directions, routing, and information for the drivers to use time and time again for repetitive deliveries into similar customer pickup and delivery locations. So the software has become a valuable tool by giving the drivers the direction information prior to leaving on a route, sometimes making the phone call to them if we get a change within the route process. Driver check calls are as important to Brenny. The drivers help us and allow us to help them by giving information as far as what they see in traffic on the routes. We also take the time at that point to assist the drivers if they need different directions. If we see it's a situation with the traffic or weather concerns, we need to relay to the drivers via their hands-free device. We really do feel that we are ground traffic control and we try to take any non- driving details away from the driver and continue to let them do their job as a professional truck driver. Experience is something that we are fortunate to have with our dispatch office, having a few former drivers actually in the dispatch office that can relay information and routes to take and so on. Parking is something that we use in conjunction with a company software allowing us to put information into the system. If the customer does have a facility that would allow us to park the trucks overnight, we really work hard to find this information before the driver leaves his route and parking is a huge problem for the drivers, so this is also important for our drivers. Some of the resources that we currently use for weather, I'm sure many people are using weather.com and then of course something that we found quite useful is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website. This can give us very detailed information on weather changes and upcoming weather related concerns. In turn, we relay the information to our drivers. Old-fashioned tools are still used at Brenny such as the CB radio and getting information from personnel as well as the other drivers from truckstop locations. Our customers again giving information to us and to our drivers regarding the weather and their particular region of the country. CB radios, many people view a CB radio as a time of the past tool, believe it or not drivers still used CB radios a lot. It's helpful in finding out what the weather is looking like ahead of them and behind them. I don't see that tool going anywhere in the near future. It's helpful and our drivers do continue to use that tool.

Sarah Hanebuth
Thanks, Joyce. Our drivers still use 511. They call from a hands-free device on the phone. The use it a lot to see if there is different chain laws that are listed or put on and also see different passes that are open or closed. Of course, experience. We trust our driver's experience. They see what the weather is doing firsthand and we never ask them to do something that they do not feel safe with. A wish list of resources that we would like to eventually see in the future: currently there is actually a project going underway for the Minnesota I 94 corridor, is a truck parking notification. What they're hoping to achieve with this is along the interstate to show if there is available room for drivers to park overnight and how many spaces are available. They're hoping that this will be coming the summer of 2013 and we have not seen it yet, but we are looking forward to having that. We also would like to have live updates via routing through GPS, something more in current time, not having to wait for the next update available. And then we would like to have some sort of tool of a voice alert sent to the drivers. We would like to have something that they can actually have a voice alert notification sent to their phone so they don't actually have to touch their phone or hands-free device. So they can have upcoming weather traffic that's on the road ahead well in advance of notice, something that's a little more driver friendly and safe for others on the road.

Joyce Brenny
I would like to really give a shout out to Idaho; kudos to you folks. What a wonderful tool you have designed and a great tool to have across the country. We know on our wish list is to unify the states roads for over dimensional loads. Also having some uniformity to keep these over dimensional rules the same across state lines and keep truck traffic flowing at an even pace, allowing drivers to continue moving rather than finding a safe place to pull off to the side of the road waiting for the decision on what's going to happen with state permits and so on. Something that we would like to see is an application that would work with the Federal Highway administration and our own company software, something that would alert the dispatch team, the ground control teams to help our drivers with weather and traffic related. In conclusion, remember the goal is hands-free, eyes on the road and we do appreciate you listening to a small carrier's perspective. Keep in mind, over 80 % of the trucking industry is made up of small carriers with under 20 powered units, when you're involving small carriers you're involving a majority of the trucking industry. Thank you for your time.

Questions & Answers

Nicholas Kehoe
Thank you Joyce and Sarah. Before we get started with the question and answer session, I typed a question from FHWA into the chat box that FHWA is asking those of you in the trucking industry. When planned interstate highway closures occur, a federal register notice is required to be published. Do you utilize those federal register notices to find out about planned interstate highway closures? Please feel free to provide any responses into the chat box. I'd now like to start off the Q&A session with the questions posted online. The first question is who is the vendor for Idaho 511?

Tony Ernest
This is Tony Ernest. Idaho's 5-1-1 vendor is Castle Rock Consulting. Their product is the CARS system, Conditioned Acquisition and Reporting System. They created our standard 5-1-1 system and at our request they created the trucker specific product as well.

Nicholas Kehoe
Great, thank you. The next question is also for you, Tony, and it's how are like notifications delivered, via text message?

Tony Ernest
Live notifications can be delivered either via text message or sent to a specific e-mail account- either one; it's up to the user how they want to set it up.

Nicholas Kehoe
Okay. Great. The next question, again for you is when did the 511 system go live?

Tony Ernest
The system went live in November 2005. At that time it was just our 511 phone system and sort of up primitive low bandwidth version of the website. Since that time, we've added new features and capabilities every year and it's kind of grown into the robust system we demonstrated today.

Nicholas Kehoe
Great. And sort of the following questions that is what inspired the development of this 511 system for truckers and Idaho?

Tony Ernest
I will let Reggie and so that because I wasn't here when the system was originally conceived.

Reggie Phipps
Yes. We originally started I believe it was I think we have seen an example of Minnesota's 511 system and had a prototype on there for their trucking page. So we just took that and ran from there. Also it would give us the opportunity to get rid of the manual process that we were currently using which was very ineffective and inefficient. So it's pretty much been from day one but we first started conceding 511 and starting to put it together that we had decided we would also have a strict separate trucking page.

Nicholas Kehoe
Great. Next question is do directions reflect the preferred routes such as designated freight routes?

Tony Ernest
Okay. I think you're talking about the high-bandwidth system where we had a from-location to-location, that is really based on directions so the initial route they came up when I typed in going to Idaho Falls for instance was the route that Google did was the most direct, fastest route. That is just the initial thing that comes up. The user that has the capability much like in Google Get Directions itself, to play with the route, to experiment with alternate ways of getting there, changing this, having an intermediate stop location along the way. It's all based on what Google Get Directions thinks is the best route and then allows for user modification here expect okay. Thank you.

Nicholas Kehoe
Many people are involved in keeping the data current?

Tony Ernest
For the system as a whole, quite a few. Assuming we are just talking about the trucker information, that falls into two categories. Closures which are very important to everybody, those are input by our 24/7 state communication center here in Idaho and at any given time there are I believe, two or three dispatches available on site, at any given time in the week here. With regard to the commercial vehicle restriction information, that is most often related to construction or maintenance work. About six districts are responsible for getting their own construction and maintenance projects into the system. Most of them have one particular person designated in the office for data input. Each individual is responsible for getting that information to them. So, there is a fairly wide range of folks who do data entry for the system.

Nicholas Kehoe
This item will provide a portal for third-party software such as a truck GPS system to receive feed of data from the 511 system?

Tony Ernest
Yes. Our contractor, Castle Rock, has the North American data hub, all of the various states that use that system feed information to the central data hub and it's made available to third-party users. Any of them can contact me or the states' 5-1-1 representative and we can get them access and get them a password. That information includes the entire event data feed as well as things like the camera images and weather information.

Nicholas Kehoe
Great. Last question for you Tony, at the moment, and I think we might have covered this but is the 5.1 system operated by ITD or is it is service by a vendor?

Tony Ernest
The system was designed and developed by Castle Rock. They also host the website. Outside of making sure the software is up and running, Castle Rock does not have anything to do with live information. That is all and put it ITD personnel. So the system itself is run by contractor, all of the information is input by ITD.

Nicholas Kehoe
Okay, fantastic work. Moving on to some questions for guy- The first question is about radios. Are radios still used for dispatches driver and driver to driver info and our EMB and DOT highway broadcast still beneficial?

Guy Welton
Okay. As far as answering the first question, our radios still used from dispatch to driver, the answer to that question with Warner Enterprises is no. With us being centrally dispatch for the most part out of Omaha we have to rely upon our onboard communication device and also with cell phones. Nearly every driver does have a cell phone. As far as driver to driver information, certainly that interaction is occurring. I thought that the Associates from transportation explained the previous usage in the current usage in the future usage of the CB radio very well. I think it's always going to be beneficial for them to have them so they can reach out to the people that are in the area that they may not know that are in the area that they can provide them some information on conditions that they may be entered into.

As far as broadcast messages, yes, I think those would continue to be very beneficial because just at the presence of CB radio and them very likely to be out there for a long period of time.

Nicholas Kehoe
Does Warner ever call 511?

Guy Welton
Internally, non-drivers, typically we will call that number on an as needed basis but we are alerted of an event. But the general knowledge of the 511 number in the driver size, I think it's used quite often. Attack Attach rate, exactly to what volume but absolutely it is a resource that everybody should be using.

Nicholas Kehoe
Okay. Great. Next question. Does Warner have suggestions for additional trucking along Wyoming state Route? Are there any other suggestions to state as we consider improvements that benefit freight?

Guy Welton
Well, when you talk about Wyoming, certainly the major impact upon us is weather related. Most of our traffic in the state of Wyoming is either going on I-80 or I-25. The issues that we deal with certainly are wind, snow, and ice. The more notifications that we can get under know the weather can come out of nowhere there. I've traveled that I-80 multiple times, and it can get rather treacherous but that's a tough one to answer in terms of suggestions. Whether it be Wyoming or another state DOT, the department has with this navigation providers, the more alerts they can get out the drivers as quickly as possible of what they may be in or approaching, is really going to be beneficial. As drivers on the road, certainly we do not want them distracted trying to call somebody or having to pull over to access information. If those alerts which can be provided through the navigation device, which is an upcoming feature that is being worked on, the more accurate and immediate and less distracting that communication is to the driver. That's going to take a lot of collaboration between State DOT's and navigation providers to get technology to this level.

Nicholas Kehoe
I'm going to move to questions for Joyce and Sarah, but I think it might apply to you as well. This is a follow-on conversation were having during the presentations are DOT CB Wizard broadcast messages help you

Joyce Brenny
This is Joyce. I would say that yes that would be helpful. Any information that we can get back to alert the drivers on road situations on weather and so on is going to keep the flow of freight moving along I'm going to say yes it would be helpful.

Nicholas Kehoe
The next question for you, Joyce, for PC routing, what software does Brenny use?

Joyce Brenny
I'm going to let Sarah answer that.

Sarah Hanebuth
A majority of our PC routing we actually use PC router that helps us see the major highways we can have our drivers go on.

Nicholas Kehoe
Next question back on the topic of CB radio and it's from Joyce and the question is will drivers go back to using CB more since distracted driving is such a safety concern?

Joyce Brenny
I think many of them have. Many of them have their phones hooked up. I think they use it mainly for safety and road conditions and so on. I don't see the drivers -- it's a tool for them to perform their duties in the faith manner.

Nicholas Kehoe
Great. I'm not sure of the next question. I will ask it everyone. Have you seen much highway variable message signing to alert and divert trucks to alternate routes in real time and how useable are these various ITS applications?

Joyce Brenny
I can take a stab at it. From Minneapolis-St. Paul, I have seen the signage menus and I do think they have provided a useful tool for alternate routing here I think sometimes the information might come a little bit too late. Information that would be shared further up and down the road might be more helpful.

Nicholas Kehoe
Thank you. Guy, Do you of any input the question?

Guy Welton
I guess my only advice on that topic would be having it be truck specific and four-wheel specific. Certainly with a detour -- when a detour is being recommended, and driver of a truck really needs to know is that going to be applicable to him, or her. If there is some specialization in those messages and what the driver should actually do, whether it be just because of traffic delays, or they should stay on the route that thereon or if it's a required detour, just making sure that it's clear that the drivers on whether or not they should -- which route they should take. But definitely, I see value in it to all motorists on the highway.

Nicholas Kehoe
Next question. For Guy, Joyce, and Sarah. What do you view as the more effective traveler information distribution methods in cities and distribution -- and urban areas and what three cities are notable in getting truck travel information to drivers.

Guy Welton
That's a tough one. Joyce, were you going to say something?

Joyce Brenny
I agree with you. That a tough one.

Guy Welton
I think that is something that really falls into that category of future advancements. Maybe I did not elaborate on it enough of my presentation. It seems like one of my slides was missing. I'm not sure but maybe it just skipped over it. One of the future enhancements that are coming in 2014 with is to be able to send out alerts and the alerts can be related to all different types of things, whether it be road closures, traffic delays, those type of things, that have both approach understated I believe will be the wave of the future. Navigation tools are being used by motorists today but are more specialized but can make it more towards trucks the better off we will all be the thing that I like about the navigation is that -- is that it is less of a distraction than a driver trying to figure out on his own it's what they see on the road or whether they're trying to for example read handwritten text direction the previous supposed to go. There are a lot of the drivers out there. In the industry to have a navigation device that is converting text to speech will make their job easier.

Nicholas Kehoe
Before we move on to the next question, I'll offer an opportunity for Sarah or Joyce to provide input or maybe read your Tony from the state perspective.

Joyce Brenny
This is Joyce. I guess kind of along the same lines except with more of a Brenny spin on it. Modular app patients assigned to work in conjunction with our company software, not only so the driver has correct information but so we can improve input routes and we can receive that information in real time and are just past the dispatch office. Keep the drivers folks on the road and first it was a list of and working with newer drivers this is something that we've really stood by and getting them this information so that we can watch for certain areas that seem to be trouble spots across the country. Having that information coupled with our own software would really be a tool that we would utilize and small truck companies would utilize.

Nicholas Kehoe
I will move onto the next question and that is for Guy, Joyce, and Sarah again. Would truck drivers detour if it is suggested and dynamic message signs?

Guy Welton
I think it would probably come down to the wording of the detour, if it's a required detour than absolutely. They absolutely should be following that. My answer to that question would be holistically yes. It may differ from what they're getting provided on the navigation device, or what they have planned but if there is messaging that's going up to them on a recommended detour caused by a significant event that should certainly follow that.

Joyce Brenny
I would agree. I think truck specific message would be as I stated before an important tool for drivers to make the right decision.

Nicholas Kehoe
Next question. What you think about hands-free and eyes free traffic applications for smart phones and their usefulness to truckers?

Joyce Brenny
Yes. We would like that. It would be a wonderful tool.

Guy Welton
As long as it is specific for truckers and not just for wheelers, as long as the updates are current and they can get the low rerouting is needed then it can be a good thing but personal GPS is that are not tied into how we want to route our trucks, we are just very cautious on.

Nicholas Kehoe
Great. When long-term incidents occur, how far away from the incident with truck drivers divert to with incident?

Guy Welton
We've experienced pretty big events over the last few years. I think back to the flooding that we had in the Omaha Council Bluffs all the way up to Sioux City area on the Missouri River and not to the same degree as Hurricane Sandy, but the gradual flooding, and the gradual receding of the flooding and construction of the roads, the repair of the roads, lasted for long time. Three to four months, and some roads even longer. It is something that we are always going to do with. We had a rockslide down in North Carolina, Tennessee area, we had a Hurricane Sandy, it's very important that we are able to adjust the routes as they close, as they reopen, when it comes down to how far they will go, if it's a significant event like those events that we have entered, we have gone back to our customers and having that database of all of our traffic lanes, we will pass on the cost to those customers. It can be tough negotiations but that's a real world and real business towards catastrophic event like that is costing the company more money. The company trucking more money and if it significant enough yesterday we each one on its own work we need to past -- pass those costs along to something that's unpredictable. I would say that all depends on the situation. We certainly don't want to put our trucks on any route that is not recommended during some type of catastrophic event.

Chip Millard
Yes, guys. I think what is trying to ask was to getting that set -- let's say the flooding on the Missouri River, if you know that, if there's an alternate route that can be taken or maybe an event or the incident, I remember the incident you talking about North Carolina and Tennessee, or something like that happens, will there be an alternate route taken or decision point is hundreds of miles up with incident occurred. The decision is made to get to the other side of the incident, so to speak.

Guy Welton
In a case you had no other options. You have to take a detour. And that road was closed for very long period of time. And again, we have to provide what that alternative route was and we did send it directly to the drivers and we monitor what they actually did and we paid the driver for the mild so with that necessarily an inconvenience to him. It wasn't lost time or lost money. And we passed that cost along to the customer.

Nicholas Kehoe
It looks like we have two questions left in just a couple minutes we will try to go through these quickly before we wrap up. To truckers plan the routes based on available truck working? And do you have any suggestions to state DOTs regarding the current or additional truck parking?

Joyce Brenny
This is Joyce. Yes, we do plan our drivers routes based on parking as I mentioned in our PowerPoint that we've really utilize our customers locations as much as we can for parking. It just is not enough parking in the eastern states and we really try to avoid getting our drivers into any unsafe situations. Checking ahead is the main tool that we use.

Guy Welton
And I would concur with her, we are as a nation, short on available truck parking. We do reach out to all of our customers and know whether or not if our trucks to park overnight at their locations. That information is provided to or drivers. A lot of the responsibility of where they parked, how they trip plan, there hours of service, really does come down to them. It is a definite challenge for our drivers.

Nicholas Kehoe
Okay. Great. Last question is our travel times on message signs useful to trucks and any suggestions to make them better?

Joyce Brenny
Yes, they are. They are very useful. Just keeping the signs out as far as possible so the drivers if there is a safe alternative route that can take that they have more notice and I know that the difficult request considering many of the signs are broadcasting accidents that might indeed be cleaned up prior to them even getting to that location. We are doing the best we can to alert them as far away from the scene as possible. That's all the questions that we have for today and I'd like to thank everybody for attending today's seminar.

Nicholas Kehoe
Thank you all for attending today's seminar. The recorded version of this event will be available within the next few weeks on the Talking Freight website.

The next seminar will be held on August 21 on the topic of 2013 State of Logistics Report. More information about the topic of this seminar and a link to register will be available soon. I will send a notice out through the Freight Planning LISTSERV once it is available. I encourage you to join the Freight Planning LISTSERV if you have not already done so. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Updated: 08/15/2013
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