Energy saving through optimised driver techniques

DriveSmart is a unique, cost-effective approach to reducing traction energy costs by up to 25%.

Developed in partnership with The University of Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education (BCRRE), DriveSmart performs detailed railway route modelling analysis to identify optimum movement sequences - such as coasting points and cruising speeds - and passes this information to driver teams through bespoke training programmes.

How DriveSmart helps rail operations:

  • Traction energy costs reduced by 10% to 25%
  • Combined modelling and driver education package
  • Fit for light rail, metro and self-contained conventional rail routes
  • No in-cab display's, DAS or retrofit of the fleet

"Let the vehicles do the work"


What is the impact of DriveSmart

DriveSmart help rail operators to reduce energy use along a route wihout impacting on service perfomance or reliability
These graphs show the impact of DriveSmart during a field test on the Edinburgh Tram route, where a reduction of energy use did not mean a drop in service speed.

Graph one shows how there was a 20% reduction in total energy usage during the 15km distance from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre

Graph two shows how this enery saving did not require a reduction in speed.

What are the steps of the DriveSmart process

  1. Each individual route is modelled by a software-based simulator, developed by BCRRE (with initial sponsorship from UK Tram), to find the most appropriate movements under a range of different scenarios, such as variable weather conditions.
  2. The simulator identifies the optimum coasting points and cruising speeds specific to the route's unique gradients and curvatures as well as the vehicle's own characteristics. The software calculates the specific points where the driver can increase speed or begin coast towards a stopping point without drawing on the accelerator or braking excessively.
  3. Once tested under true operational conditions, the evidence is compiled into a bespoke driver training programme that is delivered to your driver teams showing how they can help to minimise energy usage yet maintain consistent total journey times.
We have all been impressed with the impact of DriveSmart on day-to-day operations, with a 17% reduction of energy use on the sections where it is used Colin Kerr, Engineering Manager, Edinburgh Trams
We have all been impressed with the impact of DriveSmart on day-to-day operations, with a 17% reduction of energy use on the sections where it is used

What are the benefits of DriveSmart?

With no in-cab display - and thus compatible with systems that use line-of-sight driving - the focus is on empowering your driver teams, rather than instructing them on what to do. DriveSmart is about allowing train and tram drivers to apply their knowledge as they see fit and when conditions allow.

Furthermore, as a result of more efficient transitions between acceleration, coasting and braking, passengers benefit from smoother rides, whilst less frequent braking reduces wear and tear and results in less maintenance.

No in-cab display - DriveSmart is about driver teams applying their own knowledge

Simulation testing in China and the UK has demonstrated a potential reduction in traction power use of between 10% and 25%.

The system has been installed on the Edinburgh Tram system since April 2018 and the experiences of their engineering and driver teams following DriveSmart's first year can be seen in the two minute video above.

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