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Thoughts on Transit

Solving Transportation Problems: NEMT Optimization Techniques

by Ecolane / September 25, 2018

Keeping essential medical appointments is critical to health and wellness, and the non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) sector is instrumental in making sure fragile riders not in need of an ambulance get to their doctors’ appointments on time.

The Role of NEMT in Modern Mobility

NEMT services benefit a whole host of people, not just the disabled. Aging seniors, older adults in the rural areas with unique transportation difficulties, those without a driver’s license or an available working vehicle, and normally healthy individuals hampered by an injury, surgery, or medication also stand to gain from this mode of transportation. 

Depending on what customers need, NEMT vehicles come with special equipment such as wheelchairs and stretchers to ensure riders are safe and comfortable while traveling to their destination.

How Transit Agencies Can Optimize Their NEMT Operations

NEMT plays a vital role in modern society without question, but just like any other transportation operation, running an NEMT agency is no cakewalk. Missed pick-ups, no-shows, vehicles breaking down, inefficient driver scheduling, and drivers getting lost are just some of the common problems NEMT providers contend with on a daily basis.

Using NEMT software to better manage your operations is a solution.

Below are just a few ways NEMT software can help providers optimize their processes:

1. Monitor Where Your Vehicles Are 

If you’re still second-guessing where your vehicles are unless you’re in contact with drivers by phone or radio, you’re not maximizing the potential of your fleet.

Modern transit software systems for NEMT are equipped with automatic vehicle location (AVL) technology that makes use of GPS to allow dispatchers to track a vehicle in real time, as well as view its location on a map in the back end. Couple this with traffic data and other related information, and supervisors can not only help drivers find the best possible routes to get to their destination quickly and safely, but also dispatch emergency services to drivers needing assistance.

On the customer side of the equation, AVL technology allows riders to monitor where their rides are and whether they’re on track to arrive as expected through internet-based tracking, eliminating the need for a back-and-forth with customer support for updates.

2. Improve Driver Productivity Through Automatic Scheduling and Real-Time Monitoring

Driver shortage is a huge transport industry problem, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Older drivers are retiring, and factors such as low entry-level wages and licensing fees are discouraging many people, particularly the young ones, from entering the workforce. 

To mitigate the ill effects of the labor problem on businesses and the riding public, brokers and agencies can take advantage of NEMT software for automated scheduling in lieu of an error-prone manual entry system and, perhaps more importantly, real-time tracking that will allow supervisors and dispatchers to make timely adjustments when unforeseen circumstances arise, such as vehicle mishaps, last-minute cancellations, or traffic situations.

Transit software also tracks driver performance, which is vital to ensuring drivers are where they say they are, not entering restricted areas, nor engaging in aggressive driving behavior that can endanger their well-being and that of their passengers.

3. Avoid Steep Maintenance and Downtime Costs With Preventive Strategies

There is no fitting adage to describe NEMT vehicle maintenance than “prevention is better than cure.” Sure, vehicle breakdowns cannot always be avoided, but with the right NEMT software, you can automatically track and record necessary vehicle maintenance data such as fuel usage, mean distance between failures, and vehicle maintenance history, among others.

The collected data can then be analyzed for better parts and services forecasting and more effective preventive maintenance planning.

4. Empower Your Customers

Smartphones are everywhere, and riders nowadays are using their handheld devices to do a myriad of activities, including booking transportation services and managing their own trips. 

Mobile-ready NEMT software gives your customers a transit solution at their fingertips. The Ecolane mobile app, for example, allows them to book a ride to their doctor’s office whenever they need one. The app’s Arrive By feature lets them know when exactly to expect their driver. They can even follow the driver’s location on the map, and if any changes occur, they are alerted through push notifications.

In case of scheduling conflicts or a change in circumstances, they can simply cancel or reschedule a trip.

Let NEMT Software Help You With the Heavy Lifting

There are many ways your manual NEMT processes can be losing your company money. As budgets shift and customers demand better services, it’s time to see for yourself what transportation technology can do for you. 

Contact Ecolane today to discuss how we can help you better manage your operations. Alternatively, you may schedule a free demo with us to see the Ecolane NEMT software in action.

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Tags: NEMT

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