Conference Proceeding

Simulator Training Improves Driver Efficiency: Transfer from the Simulator to the Real World

  • David L Strayer (University of Utah, Salt Lake City)
  • Frank A Drews (University of Utah, Salt Lake City)


Here we report the results of a fuel management simulation study to quantify the improvement in fuel efficiency for CDL truck drivers. Forty drivers were selected from a local commercial trucking company that maintained precise records on drivers’ history, fuel efficiency, type of vehicles driven, and trucking routes. These drivers participated in a two-hour training program that focused on ways to optimize shifting to maximize fuel efficiency (e.g., progressive shifting, double clutching, timing, and appropriate gear selection). Transfer of training was assessed over a six-month interval using measures of fuel consumption obtained by drivers in their own vehicles driving their normal route. Training increased fuel efficiency by an average of 2.8% over the six-month interval. Analyses indicated that the benefits of training persisted throughout the posttraining interval. These training benefits were obtained even for the subset of drivers who changed vehicles after training, indicating that drivers learned a general skill that transferred from one vehicle to another. Additional analyses focused on which drivers benefited the most from training. We sorted the drivers into one of four groups, based on pre-training fuel efficiency. Our analysis indicated that those drivers with the lowest pre-training fuel efficiency benefited most from training (with over 7% improvement in fuel efficiency), while those with the highest pre-training fuel efficiency did not benefit significantly from training. Together, our data validated the transfer of simulator training to realworld driving, as drivers incorporated the methods of optimal shifting into their driving practices. Moreover, the benefits of training appear to be durable and tend to benefit most those drivers whose performance was initially below the median on fuel efficiency

How to Cite:

Strayer, D. & Drews, F., (2003) “Simulator Training Improves Driver Efficiency: Transfer from the Simulator to the Real World”, Driving Assessment Conference 2(2003), 190-193. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2003 the authors

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Published on
23 Jul 2003
Peer Reviewed