Implement manual scheduling or the right scheduling software based on the needs of the Transportation Management Center.
The United States and Canada's experience with Transportation Management Center staffing and scheduling.
- Do not discount the power of manual scheduling. Although computer programs use algorithms to generate “optimal” schedules, most schedules are developed by hand. Schedules developed manually often offer more flexibility, but can take a lot of time to complete.
- Use scheduling software for complex situations. Scheduling software offers automated and, in some cases, improved scheduling decisions. If generating a schedule requires a lot of time and staffing costs represent a high percentage of the budget, then the potential benefits of scheduling software may sound appealing. However, to realize the full benefits of scheduling software requires planning to determine the software requirements and if the software requirements can be met within a given budget. Manual methods remain prevalent because they are more flexible in terms of generating and modifying a complex schedule. On the other hand, scheduling software can efficiently process more variables simultaneously than a human scheduler. Selection of scheduling software should depend on the needs and situation of the TMC. As vendors of scheduling software are, most likely, not familiar with TMC operations, the determination of software requirements is imperative. Never accept software that is less than satisfactory. Once the product is accepted, the TMC loses leverage to request modifications to resolve existing and future problems.
Author: Wolf, Mark B., et al.
Published By: U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration
Prepared by the Human Systems Engineering Branch Georgia Tech Research Institute for the U.S DOT FHWA
Source Date: January 2006URL: http://tmcpfs.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/cfprojects/uploaded_files/Final_Technical_Document1.pdf
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Average User Rating