Vehicle tracking systems are commonly used by fleet operators for fleet management functions such as fleet tracking, routing, dispatch, on-board information and security. Along with commercial fleet operators, urban transit agencies use the technology for a number of purposes, including monitoring schedule adherence of buses in service, triggering changes of buses' destination sign displays at the end of the line (or other set location along a bus route), and triggering pre-recorded announcements for passengers. The American Public Transportation Association estimated that, at the beginning of 2009, around half of all transit buses in the United States were already using a GPS-based vehicle tracking system to trigger automated stop announcements. This can refer to external announcements (triggered by the opening of the bus's door) at a bus stop, announcing the vehicle's route number and destination, primarily for the benefit of visually impaired customers, or to internal announcements (to passengers already on board) identifying the next stop, as the bus (or tram) approaches a stop, or both. Data collected as a transit vehicle follows its route is often continuously fed into a computer program which compares the vehicle's actual location and time with its schedule, and in turn produces a frequently updating display for the driver, telling him/her how early or late he/she is at any given time, potentially making it easier to adhere more closely to the published schedule. Such programs are also used to provide customers with real-time information as to the waiting time until arrival of the next bus or tram/streetcar at a given stop, based on the nearest vehicles' actual progress at the time, rather than merely giving information as to the scheduled time of the next arrival. Transit systems providing this kind of information assign a unique number to each stop, and waiting passengers can obtain information by entering the stop number into an automated telephone system or an application on the transit system's website. Some transit agencies provide a virtual map on their website, with icons depicting the current locations of buses in service on each route, for customers' information,while others provide such information only to dispatchers or other employees.
Other applications include monitoring driving behavior, such as an employer of an employee, or a parent with a teen driver.
Vehicle tracking systems are also popular in consumer vehicles as a theft prevention and retrieval device. Police can simply follow the signal emitted by the tracking system and locate the stolen vehicle. When used as a security system, a Vehicle Tracking System may serve as either an addition to or replacement for a traditional car alarm. Some vehicle tracking systems make it possible to control vehicle remotely, including block doors or engine in case of emergency. The existence of vehicle tracking device then can be used to reduce the insurance cost, because the loss-risk of the vehicle drops significantly.
Vehicle tracking systems are an integrated part of the "layered approach" to vehicle protection, recommended by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to prevent motor vehicle theft. This approach recommends four layers of security based on the risk factors pertaining to a specific vehicle. Vehicle Tracking Systems are one such layer, and are described by the NICB as “very effective” in helping police recover stolen vehicles.
Some vehicle tracking systems integrate several security systems, for example by sending an automatic alert to a phone or email if an alarm is triggered or the vehicle is moved without authorization, or when it leaves or enters a geofence.
Other scenarios in which this technology is employed include:
Vehicle tracking systems are widely used worldwide. Components come in various shapes and forms but most utilize GPS technology and SMS services. While most will offer real-time tracking, Others record real time data and store it to be read, similar to data loggers. systems like these track and record and allow reports after certain points have been solved.
Industries not traditionally known to use vehicle tracking systems (logistics and transportation industries are the ones that have traditionally incorporated vehicle tracking system into their operations) have started to use it in creative ways to improve their processes or businesses.
The hospitality industry have caught on to this technology to improve customer service. For example, a luxury hotel in Singapore has installed vehicle tracking systems in their limousines to ensure they can welcome their VIPs when they reach the hotel.
Vehicle tracking systems have also been used in food delivery and car rental companies.