What is GPS Truck Tracking Software?
For modern freight brokers, 3PLs and carriers, GPS truck and freight track and trace software is an essential part of their business. Using either a driver's smartphone, an onboard ELD or dedicated hardware devices, GPS truck or freight track and trace software helps freight brokers, 3PLs and carriers know where their loads/drivers are at any given time.
Specific software or devices can also provide additional functionality to your freight brokerage or 3PL. For example, a GPS track and trace software can offer real-time status updates so drivers can provide alerts for possible delays, or geofencing capabilities to automatically log arrivals and departures at specific stops.
The best GPS truck tracking software integrates directly with your freight broker TMS software (i.e. transportation management software) or dispatch software to log information in a central place, provide info to customers, and avoid manual data entry.
Our experts reviewed the options and have provided our choices for the best all-around GPS track and trace software, the best device-based tracking software, best ELD-based tracking software and a number of honorable mentions.
Our Experts All-Around Choice: FreightPath Track & Trace
Our choice for the best all-around choice for GPS track and trace software, especially for freight brokers and 3PLs, is FreightPath Track & Trace. We chose FreightPath TMS software as our best all-around option for track and trace software because it comes free with and is completely integrated with the FreightPath TMS Platform.
We found that the smartphone and driver mobile app solution FreightPath provides offers the right balance between cost, ease-of-implementation and ease-of-use, while not sacrificing on tracking accuracy. For freight brokers and 3PLs looking to track freight in real time but without direct access to drivers or truck hardware, there is no comparable option at this price point.
Quick facts, Pricing, information about FreightPath Track & Trace:
- Pricing: FREE/INCLUDED (pricing for TMS platform starts at 99.99/month)
- Contract requirements: NONE (monthly, quarterly and annual options available)
- Method of tracking: Smartphone/Driver Mobile App
- Cost to driver: NONE
- Time of implementation: < 1 Day
- Cost of implementation: NONE
- Integrated with TMS: YES
- Customer support: FREE/INCLUDED 24/7 customer support (chat, email, phone, text)
- Additional features: driver status updates, POD capture, mobile e-signatures, driver document uploads
Our Experts Best Device-Based Choice: Geotab GO vehicle tracking device
Our choice for the best device-based option for GPS track and trace software that doesn't require a dedicated ELD or ELD integration is Geotab's GO vehicle tracking device. We chose Geotab for our best device-based choice because of their ease-of-installation compared to other device-based tracking solutions and wealth of fleet management features for carriers.
We found the system highly informative and easy-to-use compared to similar options, but costly compared to our best all-around choice due to the requirement of individual tracking devices for each truck. For this reason, we would not recommend Geotab GO vehicle tracking devices or similar device-based GPS tracking solutions for non-asset based freight brokerages and 3PLs. However, it is a valuable option to consider for carriers managing medium-large fleets or 3PLs with similarly large assets.
Quick facts, Pricing, information about Geotab GO vehicle tracking devices:
- Pricing: $99/device + $28.99/month/device subscription
- Contract requirements: 36 month contracts minimum
- Method of tracking: Per-truck installed hardware (connects to truck OBDII port)
- Cost to driver: $99/device
- Time of implementation: 1-2 Weeks
- Cost of implementation: Variable (depends on quote from Geotab)
- Integrated with TMS: YES
- Customer support: Paid 24/7 customer support (depends on quote from Geotab)
- Additional features: fuel tracking (IFTA), mileage calculations, truck maintenance tracking, geofencing
Our Experts Best ELD-Integrated Choice: Project44
Our choice for the best ELD-integrated option for GPS track and trace software that can work with carrier ELDs through integrations is Project44's advanced visibility platform. We chose Project44 for our best ELD-integrated choice because of the wide range of ELD integrations supported, integration with TMS software and cost compared to comparable ELD-integrated solutions for freight brokers.
However, compared to our best all-around choice, we found that it was expensive and took too long to implement. Furthermore, compared to both our all-around choice (FreightPath track & trace) and our device-based choice (Geotab GO), Project44 did not perform reliably or accurately with the actual GPS tracking of trucks. Although their support for ELDs is impressive, it does not cover enough carriers, especially smaller carriers or ones using proprietary or niche ELD providers. We also did not like their mandatory contracts or the fact that their pricing is only available on contact.
Quick facts, Pricing, information about Project44:
- Pricing: No information available (expensive compared to competitiors)
- Contract requirements: 12 month contracts minimum
- Method of tracking: ELD integrations with partner carriers
- Cost to driver: NONE
- Time of implementation: 3-4 Months
- Cost of implementation: Variable (depends on quote from Project44)
- Integrated with TMS: YES
- Customer support: Paid 24/7 customer support (depends on quote from Project44)
- Additional features: geofencing, status updates
Other Options (i.e. Honorable Mentions)
There are a variety of other options for GPS truck and freight tracking software. We found that although noteworthy, these options were not as good as our best choices due to cost, performance, installation and ease of use.
Descartes Macropoint is a phone-based tracking software for freight brokers developed by Descartes (also creator of Aljex TMS). Like Aljex and other Descartes software, we found it overpriced, hard-to-use, and unreliable compared to our top choices. Although it does integrate with a variety of freight broker TMS software, we found it cumbersome to use and often buggy. However, it is a legacy solution that does not require a smartphone or any devices to work (only a flip phone with a cellular connection).
For these reasons our experts would advise against choosing Descartes Macropoint due to features, price, and ease-of-use overall unless your freight brokerage or 3PL absolutely needs service without a smartphone and cannot afford device-based solutions like Geotab GO.
Samsara (Devices & ELD)
Samsara is a GPS tracking device and ELD vendor similar to Geotab. We found that functionality and ease of use was similar to Geotab, but pricing was more confusing and too many options were provided that did not satisfy core requirements. Other than this however, we found Samsara to be of similar quality to our top choice for device-based tracking.
If you decide to chose Samsara for a device-based GPS track and trace software solution, be careful to choose the right solution with enough features for your desired use case.
KeepTruckin is an ELD vendor that largely sells devices for carriers. We found it to be an excellent solution for asset-based carriers and 3PLs, but they did not have a solution for freight brokers or non-asset based 3PLs.
FourKites is a visibility platform built on ELD integrations similar to Project44. We found features for the two to be comparable, but preferred Project44 for their more active customer support and better API documentation for integrations. FourKites is notable due to their relationship with a variety of shippers - if a shippers requires the use of FourKites it is often not optional to secure that contract.
For the reason we found FourKites to be the more expensive choice, although it is still a solid option compared to Project44. For smaller brokerages our experts would recommend against expensive solutions like FourKites or Project44 that take months to implement, and instead suggest a solution like FreightPath Track & Trace that can be implemented with no fees in hours or days.