Transit operations decision support systems (TODSS) reduce false and low priority incident reports sent to dispatchers by 60 percent, allowing dispatchers to focus on higher priority incidents.
Based on the evaluation of the TODSS prototype development at Pace Suburban Bus in Northern Illinois.
Made Public Date


Arlington Heights
United States

Transit Operations Decision Support System (TODSS) Core Requirements Prototype Development Case Study And Lessons Learned

Summary Information

Pace Suburban Bus serves the six northernmost counties in Illinois and is a large agency operating 240 routes providing 45 million fixed-route, paratransit and vanpool trips every year throughout 3,500 square miles of service area. The service area is divided into nine divisions where dispatchers monitor real-time information, making decisions about service restoration methods and provide service interruption information to customer information websites as well as management. The Transit Operations Decision Support System (TODSS) prototype was deployed at Pace in order to test core system requirements as recommended by the U.S. DOT. TODSS is used to provide dispatchers with a set of actions to help restore normal service, based on service rules developed by Pace and the type of warning message received by the system. TODSS helps provide a more uniform approach to system management among dispatchers.

This evaluation was done by analyzing data from Pace's existing Intelligent Bus System (IBS) before and after the addition of TODSS software. The IBS includes automatic vehicle location (AVL), computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and operations taken by dispatchers. The system was also evaluated with surveys of dispatchers, supervisors and administrators before and after TODSS implementation to assess the impact of TODSS on the work environment.

The introduction of the TODSS system reduced the number of incidents in the dispatchers' queues by over 60 percent because the system design reduced the number of false or less important errors and focused dispatcher efforts on important incidents. Voice communications initiated by drivers sent to dispatchers decreased by 30 percent, allowing drivers to focus more on driving while alerting dispatchers to issues through canned text messages. These canned messages are set up to generate specific responses within the TODSS system and prioritizes them for the dispatchers.

The service development and scheduling groups at Pace access historical data which includes the types of service disruptions and the adjustments made through TODSS. This allows them to be sure to provide appropriate run-times or prove the need for re-routing. The ability of administrators to audit dispatchers based on TODSS is used to measure and improve the level of dispatcher performance. Traveler Services receives more timely and accurate information about service disruptions which, in turn, provides passengers with more accurate real-time information.

Transit Operations Decision Support System (TODSS) Core Requirements Prototype Development Case Study And Lessons Learned

Transit Operations Decision Support System (TODSS) Core Requirements Prototype Development Case Study And Lessons Learned
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William Hiller, Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.
Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovations; Federal Transit Administration ITS Joint Program Office; Research and Innovative Technology Administration U.S. Department of Transportation

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