The number of commercial fleet vehicles equipped with automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems has more than doubled in the past three years, according to a recent study by C.J. Driscoll & Associates, a consulting and research firm. The study found that more than 1 million fleet vehicles in the U.S. are currently equipped with GPS-based AVL systems. AVL systems are most extensively used in long-haul trucking and public transit fleets. The study found 30-50 percent of vehicles in these segments are currently equipped with AVL systems. The study credited a decline in AVL equipment prices, increased availablity of reliable wireless networks, and new entrants into the AVL market for the boom in usage. The study noted that the AVL industry is highly fragmented, and predicted industry consolidation among complementary companies in the future. Distribution is a key to success in the AVL market, according to the study's findings, and most companies in the market are faced with either hiring a large sales force or relying on distributors and resellers. The former can send distribution costs spiraling out of control, while the latter has often proved ineffective to date, the study said. According to C.J. Driscoll & Associates, the research was based on both primary and secondary methodologies, including more than 70 interviews with executives of leading AVL suppliers and wireless network operators.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials