Fixed route transit scheduling in Florida: The state of the industry
operations - scheduling, planning - route design, planning - surveys
Automated scheduling, Computers, Costs, Fixed routes, Florida, Manual scheduling, Medium sized transit systems, Public transit, Questionnaires, Scheduling, Small transit systems, Software, Surveys, Transit operating agencies
Fixed route transit scheduling is an undervalued and often misunderstood task of public transit agencies. It is a complex process that involves several detailed analytical procedures. Trip building, blocking, runcutting, and rostering are all sub-tasks of the overall task of scheduling. This project examines the basic framework of the scheduling process to provide a general understanding of the subject. The main objective of this project was to examine current scheduling practices at transit systems in Florida and assess each agency's scheduling issues and potential need for technical assistance in schedule development. A scheduling survey was designed and distributed to all Florida fixed route transit systems. The results of this survey are presented and analyzed with a specific emphasis on comparing systems that use automated scheduling software versus those that continue to schedule using manual processes. The use of automated scheduling software at the larger transit systems in Florida has yielded various improvements to their scheduling process. Scheduling software is an iterative tool that provides the scheduler with greater flexibility, functionality, and control over scheduling their services. It also works to reduce mistakes, improve vehicle and operator efficiencies, reduce staff time on tedious activities, and provide better reporting capabilities. As reflected in the fixed route scheduling survey, there is an interest among small to medium sized transit systems in realizing the benefits of automated scheduling software. However, scheduling software costs and computer hardware costs in general were seen as the most prohibitive aspects of attaining scheduling software. Furthermore, the learning curve and extensive set-up time required is a potential obstacle for small to mid-sized systems. Based on the findings of this report, a mechanism could be explored that would enable small to medium sized transit systems in Florida the opportunity to provide more efficient services through automated scheduling.
Mistretta, M., (2005). Fixed route transit scheduling in Florida: The state of the industry. Final Report No. BD137-51 prepared by National Center for Transit Research for Florida Department of Transportation.