Bus

Model helps agencies predict more accurate staffing for bus routes

Posted on July 29, 2014

Photo courtesy Steve Morgan
Photo courtesy Steve Morgan
The Mineta National Transit Research Consortium's latest peer-reviewed study, "Understanding and Modeling Bus Transit Driver Availability," has tested three models and provided a series of recommendations to help transit agencies plan for a sufficient number of drivers without over-scheduling.

To accommodate unplanned employee absences (illness, emergencies, etc.), transit agencies must employ a sufficient number of transit vehicle operators to meet the demands of scheduled service. Therefore, agencies employ extraboard operators or on-call backups.

Overestimating the number of extraboard operators can be costly, and underestimating can cause service problems. This study proposes stochastic (i.e., random or probability) mathematical models so transit agencies can predict necessary staffing more accurately.

"Currently, decision makers estimate their staffing by using personal experience and intuition," said Dr. Kaan Ozbay, who served as the principal investigator of the report, along with Ender Faruk Morgul. "However, our mathematical models account for measures of risk and reliability with probability distributions based on historical data. Implementing these models could allow agencies to realize meaningful cost reductions while maintaining proper staffing."

The proposed models could also improve policies for daily transit operations, allowing agencies to better determine the minimum extra driver run hours for different levels of reliability while better understanding the relationship between social costs and operational costs. Social costs are defined using clearly identified measures estimated for the case study area, such as the value of riding per hour and the average number of passengers.

Implementing these models in a user-friendly computer tool could lead to other improvements by creating various scenarios to increase the speed and efficiency of decision-making. The demand and supply data required for the model validation was obtained from historical data of Portland, Ore.'s TriMet.

As seen in several U.S. and European studies, average absenteeism among bus drivers is considerably higher than in other industry groups. In one U.S.-based study, researchers found that an average transit operator misses approximately 12% of annual scheduled workdays, excluding vacations and holidays. Other studies have noted that absenteeism places a significant economic burden on an overall transportation budget.

In this study the researchers consider the tactical planning problem, in which extra workforce numbers are determined daily, depending on schedule requirements and garage assignments.

The report's figures and tables include a TriMet daily extraboard profile, stochastic model graphs, garage location map, model results for cost scenarios and more.

For a free PDF of the research report, click here.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

National Express shuttles Baltimore commuters during subway work

Staffed 24/7 with more than 100 drivers and 58 buses, free National Express shuttles will be running every 10 minutes during peak service and 20 to 30 minutes at lower-volume commuting times.

Fla.'s JTA recieves $7.2M for BRT project

Will be used to improve sidewalks and ADA ramps within a half mile of the First Coast Flyer™ North Corridor stations and construct pedestrian access to the Armsdale Park-n-Ride facility.

2 NJ Transit buses collide in Lincoln Tunnel

Of the 20 people injured, none were considered serious and 13 were transported by New York City EMS to hospitals.

AC Transit launches on-demand bus service

Riders using a desktop computer, smart phone device or traditional telephone can schedule their pick-up and desired drop-off locations: reducing their wait time, arriving at their destination faster, and increasing the overall rider experience.

MVTA 'Bus on Shoulder' vehicles equipped with MTS guidance tech

The advanced Driver Assist System, utilizing a licensed GPS technology developed by the University of Minnesota, provides feedback to the driver regarding lane position – via graphic driver alert displays, virtual mirror, vibrating seat and actuated steering.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close