DriveSmart marks first year with Edinburgh Trams

DriveSmart marks first year with Edinburgh Trams
04 April 2019

DriveSmart, a low-cost, energy saving solution for rail operators, marks its first year in operation with Edinburgh Trams with confirmation that the service has delivered immediate results for the operator.

“We have all been impressed with the impact of the DriveSmart programme on day-to-day operations, with a 17% reduction of energy use on the sections where DriveSmart is utilised" says Colin Kerr, Engineering Manager for Edinburgh Trams. This equates to a 10% reduction across the full route (with sections of the route that do not operate DriveSmart included).

Developed in partnership with The University of Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education (BCRRE), DriveSmart provides detailed route modelling analysis to help promote energy-efficient driver skills throughout daily operations.

With no in-cab display - and thus compatible with light rail, metro systems and self-contained conventional routes with line-of-sight driving – the focus of DriveSmart is very much on empowering drivers to apply their new skills as they see fit and when conditions allow.


For each route, DriveSmart’s software identifies the optimum movement sequences - such as coasting points and cruising speeds etc. - that can help minimise energy usage within a constant total journey time.

This information is used as the basis of bespoke training programmes that show driver teams where they can help reduce energy use by changing behaviours at certain points of the route.

“The initial modelling was a revealing exercise in itself, pinpointing how we could take advantage of the route’s gradients and alignments to reduce energy use,” says Colin.

“The driver training was delivered at the right pitch to secure the team’s buy-in, and the subsequent results shows how an improved awareness of a route’s characteristics and the use of more coasting by drivers can make an immediate and positive contribution to operational efficiency”.

The short film (above, length: 2mins), produced in cooperation with Edinburgh Trams, provides a short overview of both the system and the driver team's experiences over the first 12 months, a period during which Edinburgh Trams received a Commendation for Environmental Sustainability at the Global Light Rail Awards 2018 for their adoption of DriveSmart.

For more information about DriveSmart, click here