Ensure that the management responsible for transit ITS planning is knowledgeable on agency’s labor contracts and how labor contracts affect effective utilization of ITS tools.
Washoe County’s experience implementing a comprehensive transit ITS program.
- Beware of limitations of labor contracts that may adversely affect the efficiency of agency’s ITS operations. Transit ITS can provide a powerful set of tools to manage transit operations. However, the extent of effective utilization of the ITS tools can be limited by what agency staffs are allowed to do. RTC has experienced instances where the transit ITS could not be fully utilized due to labor rules. Two examples are provided below.
- (a) With the implementation of transit ITS, RTC’s fixed-route service (RTC RIDE) dispatchers now have the ability to monitor vehicle locations and schedule adherence in real time. The transit ITS also gives them the ability to send text messages to vehicle operators. When a vehicle is off-route or schedule, the dispatchers can, in theory, alert the operator and give some instruction to help them get back on route or schedule. However, labor contracts define that directing vehicles in such a way is a supervisor’s responsibility. Even though the dispatcher is usually the first to see such issues, he or she must contact a supervisor. In this case, the labor contracts prevent a dispatcher from directly using the transit ITS to resolve an on-street issue.
(b) The playback feature of the transit ITS allows RTC to view a “replay” of a vehicle on any specific time and route or route segment. RTC uses the feature for many purposes, including examining customer complaints or grievances against particular vehicle operators. The complaints and grievances usually concern late or early vehicles. While the replay tool is considered “very reliable” by supervisors, dispatchers and management, it is not allowed to be used as evidence in grievances. Regardless of whether it proves or disproves a grievance, the labor contract does not allow use of AVL data for grievances.
- Ensure that the management responsible for ITS planning and operations is knowledgeable about the agency’s labor contracts. During the planning process, transit agencies considering ITS should review and be knowledgeable about the labor contracts that define the jobs of each potential ITS staff group. If the labor contracts may adversely affect the use of ITS, the agency should consider whether to attempt to change the labor contract, or whether to modify its ITS plans to accommodate the existing agreement.
Author: Tina Wu, Matt Weatherford, Ancila Kaiparambil, Linna Zhang
Published By: Federal Transit Administration U.S. Department of Transportation
Source Date: May 2010
Other Reference Number: FTA Report FTA- NV-26-7005-2010.1URL: http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/RTC_ITS_Eval_Study_section508.pdf
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automated vehicle location, computer aided dispatch, automatic vehicle locator, AVL, CAD, AVL/CAD