Lesson

Identify champions early to facilitate communications, project management, and staff ownership for successful deployment of a comprehensive transit ITS program.

Washoe County’s experience implementing a comprehensive transit ITS program.


May 2010
Reno,Nevada,United States


Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Champions, who facilitate ITS deployment decision making at an agency in a formal or informal capacity, play a crucial role in the successful deployment of a comprehensive transit ITS program. The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County’s experience offers the following lessons learned.
  • Identify champions early in the ITS planning and deployment process. A champion or champions should be identified in functional area at the agency. This may include planning, management, operators, dispatchers and maintenance staff. The champions should be people enthusiastic about technology and willing to incorporate it into their daily activities.
  • Understand the responsibility of champions in facilitating communications, and project management and ownership. The purpose of the champions is threefold:
      First, the champions can serve as liaisons with the rest of the staff in their functional areas. The champions can communicate the plan to the users and receive feedback and needs rom them to relay to the Project Manager.

      Second, the champions can work with the Project Manager to refine the transit ITS plans and the required functionality.

      Third, the champions can generate enthusiasm within their user groups and help the agency staff understand how transit ITS will benefit them. Their participation in the planning process will engender a sense of ownership in the planned system that allows it to be accepted and utilized more quickly.
  • Recognize and utilize the roles of technically proficient champions in the implementation process. The champions from each user group can help smooth the implementation process. Because they are enthusiastic and well-informed regarding the transit ITS, the champions will be ideal candidates to perform the testing and to help identify and resolve “bugs” during implementation.
Depending on the size of an agency, a formal working group of champions may not be necessary. However, it is important for the Project Manager to stay in contact with them and share information about the planning process. This may be through efforts as simple as group e-mails, a newsletter or monthly progress report. The champions help all the agency staff feel they are part of the planning process. RTC has largely achieved the goals of its transit ITS deployment program and benefited significantly in many ways including better schedule adherence, increased ridership, reduced emissions, and increased customer satisfaction.


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Source

Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Intelligent Transportation System Implementation Evaluation Study

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-26-7005-2010.1

URL: http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/RTC_ITS_Eval_Study_section508.pdf

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Benefits From This Source

Automatic vehicle location (AVL) on Reno buses leads to nearly four percent increase in on-time performance for paratransit services and more comprehensive schedule adherence data to create more accurate schedules.

Estimated reduction of 9.37 million personal vehicle miles traveled and 4,252 metric tons of CO2 from increased transit ridership in Reno, Nevada.

Forty-five percent reduction in complaints by paratransit riders, 50 percent less missed trips due to mechanical problems, and a new trip planning tool for fixed-route riders introduced as part of ITS deployment in Reno.

Overtime hours for drivers reduced and no staff increase necessary to handle over 10 percent increase in transit ridership over six years.

Lessons From This Source

Be prepared to use local resources to service mission critical system components, and provide ongoing O&M training to maximize system benefits.

Consider procuring computer and network hardware independently when feasible and procure right-sized systems.

Define clear goals for a comprehensive transit ITS deployment program and track the achievement of those goals to evaluate program's success.

Designate the agency project manager as the single point of contact with the contractor and evaluate track record of contractor’s project management.

Develop requirements using widely accepted standards, preferably the open source compatible ones if available, and review those requirements immediately before requesting proposals from contractors.

Do not expect to see significant operations staff reductions due to implementing ITS technologies, but do expect service improvements using the same staff levels.

Encourage staff to find creative and efficient uses of ITS to improve operations through better communications.

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.

Expect agency's information technology (IT) operations and maintenance budget to increase in order to train qualified IT staff to maintain a new suite of hardware and software.

For a comprehensive transit ITS deployment program, select an agency project manager with skills in planning, information technology, and communications.

Identify champions early to facilitate communications, project management, and staff ownership for successful deployment of a comprehensive transit ITS program.

In deploying a comprehensive transit ITS program, develop strategies and requirements for planning, procurement, implementation, and ongoing operations.

Prepare agency staff for implementation of new ITS technologies and involve maintenance and information technology (IT) staff in the installation process.

To avoid project implementation delays and unanticipated costs, perform a thorough review of the existing technologies during the planning phase of a comprehensive transit ITS deployment.

To avoid surprises after implementation of a comprehensive transit ITS program, perform a detailed analysis of costs for operations and maintenance during the project planning phase.

Understand that the contractor’s availability to remain on site after the deployment of a comprehensive transit ITS is important, so is the contractor’s ability to work with the original equipment manufacturer.

Weigh in the advantages of procuring new information technology (IT) assets, and maintain an asset management system that details new IT inventory.

Lesson ID: 2011-00603