Research & data may not be directly related to gear jammin' but it certainly helps the cause. And I'm not talking about for the regulators ability to monitor with ELD's. Well before technology was collecting data, the American Transportation Research Institute, also known as ATRI, was doing it the old fashion way with conversations and questions. Their hard work has advanced and improved truck drivers lives for decades. The research that Rebecca Brewster and others have been spearheading has been able to provide data for regulatory improvements and much more. I recently had the opportunity to ask her questions for the Payload Podcast and her answers were fantastic. I suggest you check it out.
What I think many people overlook is how the data and results ATRI creates enable small businesses to be created. When I co-founded Truck Driver Power (TDP), I was able to understand quickly how big of a problem truck parking was. It gave teeth to the idea that a mobile app for truck drivers could solve real problems such as unfair compensation. It also gave teeth to the idea that trucking companies struggle to recruit and retain drivers. These may seem like obvious problems if you're in the industry but without the research effort and data to show just how severe these problems are, nothing ever get's done about them. The data turns the conversations from being opinionated to being factual. Regulations don't change and awesome mobile apps aren't made dedicated for truck drivers such as TDP without facts. People will listen to opinions but they need the facts and data to act.
But the buck doesn't stop there. The research into truck drivers problems with proving quality has yielded some incredible insights. We get that truck drivers have ELD's that track their mileage and data but that's not for their use. That data is for a regulator, employer or big data company. But in all those cases, the data is not freely portable, usable and shareable by truck drivers. Without that data, truck drivers cannot prove their quality or showcase their professionalism among friends, family or employers. But with TDP, that all changes. The data truck drivers create in the TDP mobile app is expressly for their use. If they want to share the miles they own or the achievements that come with it, that's the purpose.
Ultimately, data shines a light on facts and we think of TDP as a flashlight for truck drivers. I think of the ATRI as a flashlight for the transportation industry. And in a world moving forward at lightening speed, truck drivers always need more of these flashlights. With them, truck drivers can participate in conversations that impact their gear jammin' directly. Without them, they're left with opinions that no one will act upon.
If you have different opinions about data, please share them in the comments below. We have one perspective but we're always interested in hearing from truck drivers. It has been the best part of co-founding Truck Driver Power (TDP). Be well, be safe, and I hope those 4-wheelers stay off your grill.