In order to improve the working conditions of professional drivers and make the profession more attractive again, researchers from UHasselt, KU Leuven and UAntwerpen, together with VIL, will monitor drivers at various times over the next three years. Through numerous interventions such as monitoring stress and fatigue in drivers, the MILESTONE project tackles pain points. "Thus, the driver and the transport company will receive feedback during and after the trips so that problems can be addressed both structurally and during the trip," says Prof Dr An Neven, IMOB UHasselt.
Europe is facing the most acute driver shortage in decades. The job of professional driver is exhausting, stressful and drivers often suffer from significant health problems. With the MILESTONE project, which can count on a budget of 1.7 million euro from the VIL earmarked project budget, the researchers want to develop and test technological interventions to reduce the difficult working conditions, stress and negative health impact among professional drivers. In doing so, the researchers focus on improving drivers' health, increasing road safety and the economic added value all this can bring.
160 drivers wanted
"We are looking for 160 professional drivers whom we will monitor at different points during the next three years. Both drivers doing long-distance and short-distance trips and parcel delivery drivers. Via a wearable, we will continuously measure their stress and fatigue and see what impact this has on their driving behaviour and (mental) health. Through numerous interventions, the researchers will also intervene during the drive. For example, drivers will receive a signal when their stress level is too high and they will also receive targeted feedback after their drive," says Prof An Neven, MILESTONE coordinator at the Institute for Mobility IMOB UHasselt. Another type of intervention is the provision of high-intensity
Dispatcher follows along
Transport companies are also closely involved in the project. "The stress level and fatigue of drivers on the road is also passed on to the transport company, giving the companies insight into problem moments during trips and adjusting their long-term planning accordingly." All applications within MILESTONE are developed in close consultation with drivers and transport companies with a focus on improving drivers' working conditions.
"This is also extremely important for transport companies, as they are facing severe labour shortages and a high turnover of workers. We are convinced that happy drivers, make happy companies. Within MILESTONE, we therefore also map out what economic impact all these technological interventions will have. Do they reduce absenteeism? Do they ensure a safer and more ecological driving style? These are important points that also benefit transport companies," says Stef Claes, project leader at VIL.training exercises, aimed at reducing stress levels at work.
Strong support among drivers
One of the participating companies in MILESTONE is transport company Van Moer Logistics. "For us, this research is necessary to further optimise the working conditions of our drivers. Traffic density on our roads continues to increase and we notice that this also affects the physical and mental health of our drivers. We have already received some spontaneous applications from our drivers who want to participate in the project, which proves that the support is also great within the community", says Jo Van Moer, CEO & Founder Van Moer Logistics
Professional drivers and transport companies willing to participate in the MILESTONE project can apply via this website.
Drivers Van Moer in the picture: Joery Van Laeken and Stephanie Stoops
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