Truck routing

The Ultimate Guide to Truck Route Planning in 2022

In an industry that is increasingly under financial pressure, professional truck route planning is more crucial than ever to optimize journeys, reduce costs, maximize efficiency, and maintain healthy profit margins.

From low tunnels and narrow roads, to bridges closed for trucks and transit bans, everything needs to be accounted for. If they’re not accounted for whilst planning truck routes, then your company risks expensive detours, risky turning maneuvers and accidents. That costs time and money.

But what is truck route planning and how does it work? We’ll cover everything you need to know in this article.

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What is truck route planning?

Truck route planning is the planning of routes for commercial vehicles, such as trucks, vans or other vehicles transporting goods. Truck route planning, in contrast to consumer route planning, considers factors that influence a route such as narrow roads, congestion prone roads, or bridges closed to trucks.

The goal of truck route planning is to find the best route between two or more stops. The order in which these stops are approached is usually fixed. A route can be optimized according to travel time, length or costs.

What are the major benefits of truck route planning?

Improve customer service & punctuality

Only with professional route planning, that also takes into account time factors such as current traffic information or driving and rest times, can a reliable estimated time of arrival (ETA) be calculated. The ETA can be passed on to customers and stakeholders in the supply chain. The result: Service Level Agreements are met, penalties for being late at the ramp are reduced, and customers are happy about an on-time delivery.

Reduce fuel consumption

The calculation is quite simple: fewer kilometers driven means less fuel consumption. PTV routing technology offers a number of features to reduce mileage:

  • When planning a route, traffic data is considered and traffic jams are avoided.
  • The calculated routes are feasible. This means less time pressure on drivers, encouraging them to drive more evenly and fuel-efficiently.
  • Notification with precise ETA ensures a higher percentage of successful first delivery attempts.

Proper planning also helps to reduce detours and wasteful idling.

Exact cost calculation

A non-optimized route can become expensive. Reliable and precise route planning is of great importance for the preparation of price calculations and offers - especially in such a competitive industry as logistics. If too few kilometers are specified in the offer then transport companies may end up paying for the additional costs.

With PTV Map&Guide truck route planning software you can calculate the expected transport costs for every tour, taking into account the costs for vehicle, personnel, fuel and toll.

Route compliance

Sticking to the designated route is more relevant than one might think. Drivers that don’t travel compliant routes can face potential fines and other unexpected expenses such as toll costs or contractual penalties for arriving late at the ramp. Furthermore, a deviation may result in delivery delays and non-compliance with Service Level Agreements.

Cut CO2 emissions

Truck fleets represent a large portion of logistical CO2 emissions. At the same time, customer awareness for sustainability and the desire for more climate-friendly delivery are increasing. More and more clients and governments require logistics companies to create CO2 emission reports.

Efficient truck routing means unnecessary journeys are avoided and less fuel is consumed. With PTV planning tools you can reduce the emissions of your logistics operations by up to 17% and calculate the exact amount of emissions per trip.

Improve safety of driver and cargo

Poorly planned truck routes not only cost time and money, but they can also become a hazard. From trucks crashing into low tunnels to getting stuck on narrow roads, highways, tunnels and bridges have specific ADR codes and restrictions for good reason: to prevent accidents with harmful effects on the drivers themselves, other road users and the environment.

 Professional truck route planning tools ensure that these rules are adhered to and that drivers and vehicles reach their destination safely.

Discover our Truck Route Planning Software

Learn how to boost your company's transport performance with PTV Map&Guide truck route planning software.

Learn more

Which industries does truck route planning help?

All companies that regularly transport goods can benefit from the efficiency gains that truck route planning brings.

Transport & Logistics 

  • Accurate cost calculation
  • Efficient use of resources

Retail

  • Delivery restrictions in city centers
  • Last Mile Optimization

Wholesale

  • Suitable routes for larger vehicles
  • Cost-efficient routing

Food & Beverages

  • Consideration of special freight and vehicle restrictions
  • Last Mile optimization

Industry & Production

  • Just-in-time deliveries
  • Live-Monitoring & ETA

CEP

  • Last Mile optimization
  • Reliable ETA calculation

What makes truck route planning different from consumer route planning?

Free online route planners like Google Maps are designed for private consumers to find directions. However, they don’t support trucking routes.

What’s the difference? Consumer route planning and commercial route planning may share a common goal of getting a driver to a destination, but the economic importance and the way the routes are being calculated differ greatly.

A professional tool for truck route planning not only provides the fastest and most efficient route from A to B, but also plans the successive stops of the entire tour. In doing so, it takes all relevant and individually important parameters into account, considers timescales, vehicle sizes, vehicle capacity, driver capacity, roadworks, conditions of the road, and, in the case of truck drivers, each road’s height and width constraints.

How does truck route planning work?

Creating efficient truck routes with a route planner tool like PTV Map&Guide is easy. Here’s how you can plan a route in just 7 steps:

  1. Input addresses into the tool: Either bulk upload or manually enter your customer data, addresses, order data (including time windows), and stops.
  2. Pick a vehicle type: Select a suitable vehicle profile and adapt the corresponding routing profile.
  3. Select your goal: You have the choice between the fastest, shortest or cheapest route.
  4. Choose start, end and stops of the journey: Allocate stops to a route by either using the map or the search field.
  5. Plan your truck route: With just one click you can activate the sequence optimization function to determine the best order for your stops. The software automatically considers time windows and duration of stay.
  6. Dispatch route to driver: Directly send the calculated route to the navigation systems of your drivers.
  7. Live monitor the deliveries: Trace the position of your vehicles on a map, check the status of the routes and receive updated ETAs.

Learn how customers improve revenue with truck route planning

The TMS provider used PTV developer components to integrate routing functions into their software solution.

AndSoft

Being one of the biggest logistics companies in Poland, Omega Pilzno needed a route planner that could perform highly accurate cost calculations.

Omega Pilzno

The Lithuanian company has chosen PTV routing software to organize its 35,000 transports per year.

Integre Trans

FAQs about truck route planning

What are trucking routes?

Trucking routes are routes designated for trucks. They take into account factors such as the vehicle's weight and height, low tunnels, bridges with weight restrictions, or environmental zones that should be avoided. A trucking route planning tool will calculate these factors and find the most optimal trucking route.

Can you set Google Maps for truck routes?

Google Maps lets you choose whether you want to create a route for a car, a bike, or a pedestrian. Trucks and trucking routes are not available for selection. Why? When calculating a truck route, numerous vehicle attributes and restrictions must be taken into account. Otherwise, the vehicle will end up on a road that is not suitable or approved, will have to turn around or take detours.

How can I plan a truck route?

Truck route planning is best done using a special truck routing tool. This software creates routes suitable for commercial trucking fleets.

How do you optimize a truck route?

Manual optimization of a truck route is difficult due to the number of parameters that need to be considered. A software solution calculates routes automatically based on vehicle profiles that specify vehicle properties such as length, width, height or weight. Taking into account numerous additional factors (e.g. driving and rest times, delivery time windows, opening hours, permanent road works), the algorithms determine an optimal route tailored to the vehicle.

Which software is used for developing vehicle routes?

When it comes to calculating truck routes with PTV solutions, you have a choice: Use our ready-to-install software solution PTV Map&Guide or the integrable and scalable Routing API of PTV Developer.

What is the best navigation app for truckers?

There are several navigation applications available for truckers on the market. However, to ensure your drivers follow the optimized trucking route, we suggest the use of PTV Navigator. It’s a professional truck navigation system available in 20 languages. It also offers offline maps, traffic updates, and truck parking assistance.

Truck route planning vs. route optimization

Truck route planning calculates the best route from a given starting point to one or several given delivery addresses for individual trucks. It automatically considers relevant truck restrictions and planning aspects such as routes unsuited for heavy trucks and Hours of Service (HoS), thereby helping professional truck drivers plan trips that maximize their available hours and minimize their transport costs.

Route optimization calculates optimized routes for multiple vehicles and drivers simultaneously given a certain order volume. The software distributes orders among the trucks, determines the best order of stops and calculates the best route for each truck, with the goal of deploying the entire fleet as efficiently as possible.