Human Capital: Smart Duty Management for Happier Drivers


The Covid emergency made even more acute a challenge that public transport operators have always known and somehow solved.

The operations behind the planning of the vehicles that must ensure circulation, and the assignment of the drivers who physically get behind the wheels is long and costly in terms of time and human resources.

When the pandemic started affecting the drivers indiscriminately, this problem becomes even more complicated, impacting the regular functioning of the service and forcing companies to make continuous changes and reductions in the number of trips.

What can technology do to make these planning efforts much easier?

So many Variables at play


Duty planners of public transport networks must study hard to evaluate average running times on planned routes. Also, they must consider the capacity of the fuel tanks or the battery charge in the case of electric buses.

They must trace the right point of intersection between vehicles leaving and returning to the depot, or drivers who stop and start the duty. Then, they must respect the service levels agreed with the transport authority and the strict contractual obligations of the personnel.

Not to mention the problem of disseminating the right information: for example, the drivers who must know their working calendar in advance, or the people who want to use the service and expect to find information on timetables and stops directly on Google Maps.

So many Variables at play

Stress caused by the Emergency


Even before Covid, the impact that an unexpected event like a breakdown, an accident, or a driver being knocked out by the flu, could have on the delicate balancing act of drivers' work was certainly not negligible.

But the pandemic was the perfect combination of bad events: nothing and no one could have a firmly scheduled duty even a few days in advance.


All operators had to adopt service remodelling policies, addressing the problem of organizing short-term duties, with all the heavy repercussions of the case in terms of stress along the entire planning process chain:

 

- higher planning costs

- very tight duties

- nervous and unmotivated drivers

- accurate information not delivered 

 

Furthermore, any rescheduling of the service can considerably increase the risk of disruptions, delays, and loss of passenger connections.

Problem solved


 

The good news - in that storm of events, as well as in the new normal that awaits us - is that the scheduling and driver assignment activities in public transport companies can make use of software tools developed in the scientific context of artificial intelligence and operational research, a problem-solving discipline that was consolidated during the Second World War, helping generals to better manage the movement of troops, vehicles, and supplies.

Problem solved

Speed and Transparency in the Service Planning and Scheduling


Thanks to its modules, the MAIOR Transit Scheduling Suite, designed for public transport, can drastically reduce a job that, done manually or with the help of an Excel spreadsheet, can keep teams of well-trained specialists busy for weeks.

Also, when the emergency forces transport authorites and operators to make continuous changes, it’s possible to reconstruct parts of the service planning and scheduling without having to re-do everything, making operational changes already optimized by operational research.


 

With MAIOR the user can count on effective simulation tools, able to generate in advance a series of service scenarios to put into production with just a few steps at the time of need.

In addition, having all the information in a centralized database allows users to make accurate service information available in the right paper or digital format, both to drivers and to passengers.

Optimization, speed, and transparency also mean less stressful duties for happier drivers: a key advantage at a time when there is a serious problem with the availability of resources.



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