T3 Webinar Presentation

Clearing the Dispatcher's Queue: Using a Transit Operations Decision Support System (TODSS) to Improve Real-time Incident Response (October 21, 2009)

Presenter:   Steve Mortensen
Presenter's Org:   Federal Transit Administration

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T3 Webinars are brought to you by the ITS Professional Capacity Building Program (ITS PCB) at the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) ITS Joint Program Office, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)

Slide 1:  Background

Steve Mortensen
Senior ITS Engineer
Office of Research, Demonstration & Innovation
Federal Transit Administration

October 21, 2009

Slide 2:  The Problem

[This slide describes the problems associated with the development of TODSS. The slide also contains two pictures. The picture on the left is of a dispatcher viewing data on a computer monitor. The picture on the right is of a PACE bus.]

  • AVL/CAD systems generate large quantities of data
    • Dispatchers do not have sufficient time to digest the data for decision making in a normal operating environment
    • Dispatchers are unable to recognize patterns of operational problems
    • Available data and AVL/CAD capabilities are not fully utilized

Slide 3:  The Problem (continued)

[This slide contains a drawing that sums up the problem by depicting a dispatcher viewing all types of transit data using a traditional system. The data indicates that transit vehicles are not running on time; vehicles are off route; vehicles are malfunctioning; operator is sending a covert alarm signal; and operators are requesting to talk to one another. The questions and question marks surrounding the picture denotes that the data is unmanageable because traditional systems do not provide restoration options to the dispatcher.]

Slide 4:  The Solution — TODSS

[This slide contains a screenshot of software that serves as a decision support tool to help dispatchers and supervisors make decisions, manage problems, and restore service in the field.]

  • Develop enhanced capabilities and tools to help dispatchers and field supervisors:
    • Identify and prioritize problems as they occur
    • Make decisions to resolve operational issues before they become problems
    • Manage problems or incidents as they arise
    • Restore service with minimal disruption to the transit system

Slide 5:  Resulting Activities

  • FTA and ITS JPO launched an effort to help develop TODSS:
    • Met with transit agencies to discuss problems
    • Conducted workshops with transit agencies and AVL/CAD vendors to discuss issues, needs, and recommended actions
    • Worked with the industry to developed TODSS concept and core requirements, which:
    • Conducted a competitive procurement to develop a prototype TODSS employing the core functional requirements
      • Awarded project to Pace Suburban Bus System in 2006

Slide 6:  Core Functional Requirements

[This slide contains a picture of a table in the TODSS Concept of Operations and Core Requirements document that describes the 120 Core Functional Requirements divided into four categories:

  • Sources of information
  • Identification & notification of service disruptions
  • Provision for service restoration options
  • General system requirements

The rows of the table describes the Generic Service Disruptions and the columns display the corresponding Generic Service Restoration Options.]

  • Provide for a common understanding between vendors and agencies concerning TODSS
  • Help vendors reduce the cost of customization
  • Help agencies with procurement specifications
  • Solve problem of AVL/CAD data overload for bus dispatchers

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