The Benefits of Route Optimization for NEMT Providers
Route optimization in NEMT is the process of planning and organizing the most efficient and cost-effective route to complete a trip. It helps maximize trip efficiency whether there’s one passenger or multiple passengers or stops.
Why is Route Optimization Important?
The best option is to take the shortest path to get around a set of stops. But this is only sometimes true. Traffic, toll booths, one-way streets, speed limits, and parking restrictions can cause unplanned detours and reduce trip efficiency.
Route optimization identifies the shortest and most efficient path that stops at each drop-off location exactly once and adapts to real-world conditions. It adjusts the route to maximize factors depending on the need. These factors include cost, time, distance, number of vehicles, fuel consumption, safety, or carbon emission.
Optimizing trips is a cumbersome task since each route needs to be optimized based on the specific needs of that trip.
Why Doesn’t Manual Routing and Planning Work?
Planning routes for non-emergency medical transportation seems like an easy-to-execute concept, but it is quite the opposite.
Manual route planning depends on the local driver’s or dispatcher’s expertise. Once a booking comes in, the dispatcher must either fit it in with a scheduled trip on the same circuit or book a new vehicle.
When dispatchers need to plan the route manually, it increases the probability of human error. Plus, manual routing also compromises business efficiency and increases the workload on dispatchers who need to remember and batch incoming bookings manually.
How Can Technology Streamline Route Planning?
NEMT software often includes a route planning module, which automates this resource-intensive process. NEMT software can be a powerful tool for NEMT businesses looking to improve their operational efficiency.
The software considers many factors while calculating the best route for a trip. Some of these factors can be:
- The number of stops
- The trip completion time
- The number of times the vehicle crosses lines of traffic
- The estimated location of the vehicle and proximity to the booking
- The amount of traffic and movement restrictions during the day
- The shortest route to reach the destination
Route optimization with NEMT software is instantaneous but considers many more factors than is possible in manual route planning.
How is Route Optimization Beneficial for NEMT Providers?
There are several ways route optimization improves the trip efficiency and business performance of NEMT fleet operators.
Route optimization helps find the most economical routes for any trip. Using route recommendations can result in fuel savings of up to 30%. Route optimization software also helps optimize a vehicle’s time on the road, directly affecting its maintenance cost.
When vehicles are used longer before being pulled out for maintenance, it increases the operational time per vehicle.
Also, better route planning leads to more predictable routes, which ensures that the vehicle ages more slowly, lowering insurance premiums and the number of parts that need replacing.
Route optimization software identifies efficient routes for every trip, accounting for weather conditions, traffic conditions, and even the number of turns, to help patients reach their appointments safely and on time.
By planning the most efficient routes, fleet providers can minimize the time it takes to complete each trip, resulting in more trips and increased profits.
A roundabout route, a wrong turn, a scheduling mismatch, or a billing error can also impact the customer experience. These small mistakes snowball and can ruin a patient’s trip and cost unnecessary driver hours.
Also, route optimization helps plan trips in advance, so businesses have ample time to make changes to their roster if patients request it. NEMT software provides route optimization and digitizes route information, helping reduce billing errors.
Planning trips manually takes a lot of time. Investing in people to help plan trips also increases operational costs.
NEMT software with route optimization features integrates trip booking requests as soon as they are received. The software looks for the closest vehicle, matches the estimated location, and recommends vehicle bookings to the dispatcher. NEMT software increases the efficiency of the trip and the whole business.
Also, better scheduling ensures that drivers spend more time on billable miles, not waiting for patients or commuting to their passenger’s locations.
Driver and Passenger Safety
Route optimization software aims to optimize a vehicle’s time on the road. It also considers weather conditions, traffic density, whether the route crosses lines of traffic, and the number and nature of turns on a planned route.
When planning a new route, the software can factor in elements that affect safety, speed limits, route restrictions, or accident-prone spots. It can plan routes with a minimal number of turns to the destination and which cross as few lines of traffic as possible.
By avoiding congested areas and roads with high accident rates, NEMT businesses can improve the safety of their drivers and passengers.
NEMT software helps service providers plan and manage routes better. Route planning provides a streamlined service experience for the patient. Fast and accurate transport without delays, low wait times, and a smooth driver to their destinations translate to a better experience for the passenger.
Optimizing or planning trip routes offers many advantages to fleet operators, including a higher return on investment and a better passenger experience. NEMT software like Tobi Cloud can make route planning and optimization quick and straightforward. Tobi Cloud is NEMT management software, so it integrates route optimization with other operational tasks like trip scheduling and dispatching, making NEMT business management easier.