When Fleet Owner was founded in the 1920s it was written for people like my grandfather who managed maintenance for bus and transit companies. Barnie was the maintenance superintendent for one of New York City's then private subway and bus lines, and the major issue plaguing him was replacing his beloved trolleys with “those dirty diesel buses.”

As a fledgling commercial truck industry emerged and grew into the country's dominant freight transportation mode, Fleet Owner evolved with its audience by closely watching and then responding to changes in the industry. Like trucking, our focus has certainly changed over nearly 90 years — you won't find much about trolleys or transit buses anymore. But the one constant has been the magazine's commitment to understand and serve the needs of our readers, the people responsible for managing truck fleet operations and businesses.

First-hand experience plays a major role in helping us meet that commitment. All of Fleet Owner's editors spend as much time as possible out in the field with fleet executives and managers like you. As important as that direct experience is, it's also important to solicit other, more objective perspectives. And so periodically we hire researchers to conduct a reader satisfaction survey solely for the purpose of helping us fine-tune our efforts to reflect your most pressing needs and interests.

We completed our latest reader survey late last year. For the most part, you told us we're covering the topics that interest you the most and giving you that information in ways that you find most useful. As part of trucking's natural evolution as a modern industry, a few areas that we've routinely covered for years moved up significantly in the ranking of topics you consider most critical.

The most significant change was your interest in environmental issues, especially anything that had to do with managing the environmental impact of your fleet's operations. To make it easier to stay on top of those issues, we've rounded up all of that news in a new section called “Green Roads,” which you'll find starting on page 18. It will also include a monthly profile of a fleet that might hold some practical pointers for your own operations.

Interest in the lighter end of the truck market has also moved up in the reader survey. Coverage of Class 1 through 5 truck equipment has long been an important part of our coverage, but we will now expand our focus on the subject with “Light & Medium Report,” a one-page roundup of trends and issues specifically created for fleets running those types of vehicles.

Other changes debuting this month include a bi-monthly column about marketing truck and freight services from Mike McCarron, a fleet marketing executive with many years of experience. It will alternate months with a column monitoring used-truck news and issues. Editors Wendy Leavitt, David Cullen and Sean Kilcarr will also share a new opinion column called “First Person,” which kicks off this month with a call for another presidential candidate. And finally, we've redesigned the table of contents to make it easier to find each issue's major stories and to navigate through all of the content we spend so much time putting together.

E-mail: jmele@fleetowner.com

Web site: fleetowner.com