Innovative Solutions Award Winner: Maintenance - Dutchess County Public Transit (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)/Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (St. Petersburg, Fla.)/ Saskatoon Transit (Saskatchewan, Canada)/Preteckt
There are a few firsts with this year’s Innovative Solutions Awards, one of them includes the AI-powered maintenance tool from Preteckt winning an award with three different transit agencies — Poughkeepsie, N.Y.’s Dutchess County Public Transit; St. Petersburg, Fla.’s Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority; and Canada’s Saskatoon Transit.
Each chose Preteckt to help its maintenance teams reimagine how they could prevent bus breakdowns and more.
How It Works
The technology plugs into the bus and reads the existing sensors on a bus fleet to detect issues. The software analyzes millions of data points and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to discover issues before they become critical interruptions to service. Before awarding the contract, Saskatoon Transit says it conducted a four-month pilot test with the AI system and a control group, and Preteckt AI’s insights reduced labor hours by more than 50% in the test group.
Today, it is critical for agencies to detect issues as early as possible to have a well-maintained and safe fleet, especially with the increasing costs of parts. The maintenance team now finds and repairs issues before they become a bigger issue, and they have data to help prioritize work.
AI, IoT, and cloud computing have enabled Preteckt to develop a predictive maintenance system that can be included as part of the operations with millions of sensor data from each bus powering the algorithms to help:
- Reduce road calls
- Be warned earlier of potential failures
- Reduce costs and time
As the data is fed back to Preteckt’s team, it is reviewed and analyzed by Red Seal technicians and data analysts to develop repair plans that are then returned to the transit agencies to carry out. AI empowers technicians with more information about the performance metrics of each bus and minimizes the detailed diagnostics process that a technician would use to diagnose an issue.
Billions of data points are streamed in real time and can be analyzed by AI tools to supply information and prescriptive actions to fix issues before they happen.
“It’s critical for us to detect issues as early as possible to have a well-maintained and safe fleet, especially with the increasing costs of parts. The maintenance team now finds and repairs issues before they become a bigger issue, and they have data to help prioritize work,” says Tracey Davis, fleet & maintenance manager for Saskatoon Transit. “Many innovations have focused on minor enhancements, but AI provides a platform to reimagine how data we’re already collecting can help with other processes and AI can empower the technicians. We noticed immediate benefits, like reductions in parts and labor costs, which will become part of our regular maintenance practices.”
“The fact that Preteckt is not just a tool but an interaction with a separate maintenance team makes it special,” adds Michael Grattini, director, Division of Public Transit at the Dutchess County Department of Public Works. “Our mechanics can immediately see challenges that a bus may be facing through the Preteckt software and if there is an issue or confusion the response time from the Preteckt staff is enormously helpful. We have diagnostic equipment available to us, but the Preteckt system is far and above better than the stand-alone equipment that we have.”
Building and Improving
Preteckt’s team says it is fortunate to work with the leaders at these agencies who have allowed them to learn from their operations. With each additional agency, the algorithms learn and can make a better product.
“After the initial meeting with Preteckt in 2020, PSTA decided to test the system on 20 buses for one year, and we found the predictions made were 95 percent accurate. After this considerable success, we decided to implement it on all 2010 and newer buses,” says PSTA’s Stephanie Weaver. “The results have been incredibly positive and further move the needle of proactivity rather than reactivity in bus fleet maintenance.”
“It is always an honor to win an award,” adds Grattini. “This is special knowing that we participated in helping move this development of this tool along and see it becoming a success. The time and effort both Preteckt and Dutchess County Transit have expended on this project has been well worth it.”