PR photo of Lightfoot managing director Mark Roberts and Exeter Mp Ben Bradshaw in front of Lightfoot's branded vehicle

Exeter’s citywide driver-behaviour trial shows promising early results

Exeter’s driver-behaviour pilot, run by Exeter-based Lightfoot® in association with Exeter City Futures, is seeing dramatic results in only its first week of live operation, with over 54% of drivers hitting its Elite Driver efficiency target, and some motorists achieving up to 77.2mpg.
The citywide trial of Lightfoot®, which aims to help drivers save fuel, cut emissions and reduce accidents by driving more efficiently, is being trialled by over 100 drivers.
Commenting on the initial findings Mark Roberts, managing director of Lightfoot®, said: “We’re really encouraged by the results so far.  We knew that Lightfoot® would make a difference, but the speed of change in driving styles has impressed us, and we’re not even at the point where participants are competing for prizes.”
Lightfoot®’s in-car driver coaching technology went live across Exeter last Monday.  Up to that point Lightfoot® had monitored driving styles among pilot participants.  This showed that just three percent of drivers achieved a score of 8,500 or above, which is defined as Lightfoot®’s Elite Driver level.
Following go-live, when the devices in over 100 cars started to talk to drivers, guiding them to stay in the ‘sweet spot’ of their cars’ engines, over half of the drivers achieved this Elite Driver level, and many far exceeded it.
Perhaps most telling of all, the amount of time drivers spent in the most inefficient ‘danger zone’, where drivers are most likely to put themselves and others at risk, fell from 6% to just 1.6%, representing a reduction of nearly three quarters.
‘Drivers have really got into the competitive spirit now that they can log on daily to see where they rank compared to colleagues and people in other leagues”, said Mark Roberts. “Even though there’s nothing to win at this stage, participants in the pilot are really pushing hard to be as efficient as they can, and they’re actively tweeting about it.
“By the time the competition stage kicks in, when drivers will have the opportunity to win a host of prizes including the keys to an all-electric Nissan Leaf for seven days, a free karting experience at Raceworld Indoor Karting and a free supercar driving experience at a UK racetrack, we expect even more drivers will be achieving Elite Driver status.”
Lightfoot® hopes that the study will help to show that ‘gamification’ and the opportunity to win prizes will help to make safe, efficient and measured driving fun and addictive.  If this can be demonstrated, Lightfoot® believes it could have major positive implications not only for the future launch of a consumer version of Lightfoot®, but also for its use in fleets.
Roberts added: “To date Lightfoot® has achieved some impressive figures in the fleet sector, with average fuel saving figures of over 15% and reductions in accidents by as much as 50%.  If we can show that introducing this kind of competitive angle leads to even greater efficiency levels, it has huge potential for commercial fleets where incentives could help to generate further savings in fuel, cuts in CO2, reductions in wear and tear and lowered accident rates.”
Local MP, Ben Bradshaw commented: “I hope this is the first step on the journey to all cars being driven in the safer, more efficient way Lightfoot encourages.”
The Lightfoot® live trial will continue to run throughout May and June.  Data from the trial will be used by trial partners Exeter City Futures to measure the impact Lightfoot® could have if it were scaled up to more drivers.  If these early results are sustained and can be replicated, the bigger impact on our roads and cities could be substantial.
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