Tighter security along the border between the U.S. and Canada may be helping to keep both countries safer but it’s adding time and complexity to the business of border crossing for truckers. One way to speed things up across the 49th parallel, according to Turnpike Global Technologies, is for customers using its RouteTracker electronic onboard recorder (EOBR) to take advantage of another special service.
Turnpike president Brendan Staub explained that RouteTracker uses Bluetooth technology to provide Internet-delivered vehicle tracking, automated hours-of-service (HOS) reporting, automated fuel tax (IFTA) reporting, driver performance monitoring and other features. According to Staub, thanks to Bluetooth access points mounted on some of the busiest bridges and tunnels between Canada and the U.S., RouteTracker customers can view a report via the Internet that provides up-to-the-minute information about border crossing wait times, for trucks inbound to the U.S. or to Canada.
“We have access points at the Detroit Tunnel, Blue Water Bridge, Ambassador Bridge, Peace Bridge, Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and Thousand Island Bridge,” Staub told FleetOwner. “RouteTracker customers can access an Internet report that shows their own trucks at the border plus anonymous data about other trucks. If it is 4:30 p.m. and you were expecting to see a load arrive in Buffalo by 5:00 p.m. but the driver still has another three-hour wait at the border, for instance, you can plan for that delay. They can also see graphs of historical data to help predict crossing times.
“We came to the vehicle tracking business from a completely different angle,” continued Staub. “From the beginning, our question was, ‘What can we do to automate various operations processes? How can we eliminate paperwork and improve efficiency?’ That perspective made the border crossing application a natural for us.”
According to Kelly Frey, Turnpike’s vp of sales & services, the RouteTracker system can be customer-installed in about ten minutes or less and pricing discounts are available for large orders. “We typically send out the RouteTrackers with a how-to video and customers handle their own installation in five or ten minutes per truck,” Frey said.
The RouteTracker, which is mounted inside the cab, connects directly to the vehicle’s engine bus (J1708, J1850, or J1939) and wirelessly to a variety of external components, such as cell phones, handheld devices, printers, keypads and sensors.