How to Reduce Car Emissions in Medical Transportation
Around 15% of greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil fuels that power road vehicles, trains, and air and marine transportation.
Additionally, around 95% of transportation power comes from petroleum-based fuels, primarily gasoline and diesel.
But just because it is a given that vehicles produce greenhouse gases doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be done about it. Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), which is supposed to do a lot of good, must lead the charge on how to reduce emissions from cars.
Optimizing Route Planning for Reduced Emissions
Your vehicle choice and driving habits matter when it comes to learning how to reduce vehicle emissions.
Electric vehicles are well and good for the environment, but they are not yet an NEMT staple. The main issue is the high cost of maintaining a fleet and the time it takes to fully charge each vehicle. While it is part of the future of NEMT, for now, nearly all fleets are still composed of gasoline-powered vehicles.
However, some gas-powered NEMT vehicles are better than others, so you must find the best types of NEMT vehicles for your business, also you should consider using electric vehicles in your fleet. NEMT transportation is responsible for accommodating patients with varying medical needs, such as oxygen and other apparatus—walkers, wheelchairs, and even stretchers, in some cases.
Another critical criterion for an NEMT vehicle is that it must not be a gas guzzler.
There is no getting around the fact that NEMT vehicles emit carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. However, streamlining operations and optimizing route planning are great ways to reduce overall emissions.
What is Route Planning?
It is the process of analyzing various options and identifying the most efficient route to take so that car emissions in NEMT will be at an all-time low.
What are the factors that affect route planning?
Obviously, distance is the primary consideration. What is the shortest route an NEMT vehicle can take to pick up the patient, deliver them to their destination, and then take them back or pick up another passenger?
With so many factors affecting traffic flow, it requires highly sophisticated analytics and algorithms to determine the best route to take at any point of any day.
However, pure distance is not all that matters.
Is your schedule efficient and you are using minimum amount of vehicles to compete your trips? It might sound hard to plan ideal schedule, but with the help of technology it’s easy, the NEMT scheduling software will build your ideal schedule with minimum vehicles involved. It will utilize multi-load opportunities to make sure the emissions are going down and your profits are going up.
The route plan for NEMT vehicles will change based on the trip schedule because some routes are better at certain hours.
3. Traffic Conditions
Road accidents cause unexpected traffic, which would affect scheduled NEMT trips. When clients call for an NEMT service, the company must figure out the timing to ensure they get to their appointments with time to spare.
If heavy traffic is reported on specific routes, NEMT dispatchers and drivers should be able to make the necessary changes to ensure car emissions on medical transportation remain low.
4. Other Constraints
Transport services may also be plagued with unanticipated issues that could affect route planning.
If one person is tasked to create a route plan based on the above-mentioned factors, it will take them hours to figure it out. Plus, the analysis may not be accurate or timely. Advanced technology is needed to truly optimize route planning for the benefit of the patients and transport providers.
If you plan on starting an NEMT business, transportation software will be crucial.
Leveraging Technology for Efficient Dispatching
Dispatching is an integral element of every NEMT business. And if you want to be educated on how to reduce car emissions in NEMT, transportation software such as that from ISI Technology will play an important role.
How Can Software Help Reduce Car Emissions in NEMT?
Manually scheduling trips is too time-consuming, with little to no guarantee of coming up with the best possible solutions. With NEMT software, companies can easily do the following:
1. Identify the Best Vehicle to Use
NEMT services can identify the most suitable vehicle within minutes. The software works much faster than any team doing it manually. As soon as the client calls to schedule a trip, the software determines the most suitable vehicle and the most efficient schedule for pickup and dropoff. The best and most efficient route also means the least fuel use.
2. Provide Updates
NEMT dispatchers can provide essential updates to passengers and drivers about the trip, which will impact car emissions. When the vehicle is nearby, the passenger will know about it. And the less time the driver waits for the patient to get ready for the ride, the less gasoline is used up. When a vehicle is fuel-efficient, it has less emission too.
3. Reroute NEMT Vehicle
In case of any changes to schedule, dispatchers can instantly inform drivers about what happened so they can reroute. The NEMT software will provide the updates and allow drivers and dispatchers to communicate seamlessly. The less time drivers spend navigating traffic jams, the lower the car emissions.
4. Efficient Schedule for the Entire Fleet
The great thing about NEMT technology is that it’s not just about one vehicle. It’s the whole system or fleet. Manually coming up with one route for one vehicle is hard enough, but when you have an entire fleet on the calendar, it’s impossible. Fortunately, robust NEMT software can easily make a weekly or monthly schedule for all vehicles and drivers.
Efficient scheduling means all vehicles on the road move with intention. All NEMT drivers must have a purpose to save on gasoline and limit emissions.
Since NEMT vehicles are specialized, your local Department of Transportation may have regulations against them wandering anyway. You need to check your state’s laws on such services.
Implementing Vehicle Maintenance and Fuel Efficiency Practice
Vehicle maintenance is critical for fuel efficiency and reduced car emissions. What are the necessary vehicle maintenance activities needed for NEMT fleets?
Check Your Oil and Coolant
Oil and coolant levels of NEMT vehicles must be checked at least once every month. The situation could be dire if leaks are draining these critical liquids.
Replace Air Filter
All vehicles must have air filters replaced each year. They regulate engine airflow and prevent dust, insects, and other debris from reaching the most sensitive parts of the vehicle.
If the NEMT vehicle clocks high mileage daily, it’s best to replace air filters even more often.
Regularly Check Brakes, Lights, and Turn Signals
It is essential to check the brakes, headlights, parking lights, and turn signals daily before an NEMT vehicle makes its first trip. All elements must be working correctly to ensure everyone’s safety.
Ensure Tire Pressure is Appropriate
Maintain the appropriate tire pressure for each vehicle to keep them running smoothly. Regularly checking tread wear and replacing tires when needed is also essential. Don’t wait for accidents before buying a new set of tires.
All these and more can be properly monitored with NEMT software. The software can send notifications when certain vehicles need changes in oil, air filter, tires, and more. The reminders will ensure that all vehicles are always in good condition, keeping NEMT insurance costs low.
These maintenance practices will also result in improved fuel efficiency. By implementing these practices, you are also deploying techniques on how to reduce car emissions in NEMT.
NEMT is a form of service to a community sector that really needs it. But the environment should not suffer while doing so. NEMT providers must be prudent about car emissions: route optimization, fuel efficiency, and regular NEMT maintenance will minimize them.
Using NEMT software like RouteGenie will optimize NEMT operations, such as route planning, dispatching, and billing. Get a free demo to learn more about the software.