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18 TABLE 14 Interaction among data users, impacts on staffing levels Development of Data Processing and Reporting and needs, and cost are all considered here. It should be Software noted, however, that costs reported by transit agencies var- ied depending on methods and assumptions used. In par- Agencies Responding ticular, it was difficult for agencies that purchased APCs as Source No. % part of a broader ITS procurement to separate out the costs involved. The reader is cautioned that cost data are neither Hardware vendor 26 55.3 uniform nor complete. In-house, by end users of data 16 34.0 Table 16 summarizes departmental involvement in man- In-house, by information sys- agement, purchasing, and use of APC systems. The planning tems or computer services 13 27.7 department department is the most common location for management of the APC system, followed by the operations department. The Another outside vendor 12 25.5 "other" responses related to management represent agen- Other 3 6.3 cies where this responsibility is split among departments: planning and maintenance; maintenance and information Total responding 47 100.0 technology (IT); operations, maintenance, and IT; planning and IT. Table 16 also shows widespread involvement across departments in procurement of the APC system and use of Anyone who has been through the process of implement- the APC data. Only one agency reported no downstream ing a new technology knows that there is a "debugging" users of APC data. period, during which start-up problems are resolved. The debugging period for APCs averages 17 months, identi- In terms of data users, more than 80% of responding cal to the finding of the 1998 synthesis, with a median of agencies reported electronic access to APC data through 18 months. There was a wide variation in responses to the standard reports. Half of agencies indicated that hard copies debugging question, from 1 month to 5 years. Table 15 of APC reports were available to data users, and 41% noted groups the responses by time frame. There were no signifi- that data users could query the database directly. cant differences by system size. Respondents involved on a day-to-day basis with APCs may have been more aware of problems and issues than others. TABLE 16 Departments Involved in Agency Purchase, TABLE 15 Management, and Use of APC Systems Length of "Debugging" Period for APC % Primary Implementation Ownership % Involved of APC Agencies Responding in APC Management Purchasing and % User of Time Frame No. % Department Decision Operation APC Data Less than 6 months 3 9.7 Planning 90 42 91 6 to 11 months 4 12.9 Operations 62 20 73 12 to 23 months 8 25.8 Information ser- vices/computer 67 16 14 24 months or more 6 19.4 services Ongoing 10 32.3 Scheduling 57 7 82 Budget/finance 52 2 34 Total responding 31 100.0 Maintenance 43 2 14 ORGANIZATION AND RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS Marketing/market 24 0 59 research Organizational issues can affect the success of new tech- Senior management N/A N/A 52 nologies. Implementation of APCs and other ITS technolo- Other 7 9 9 gies fosters or requires integration and cooperation among departments that may have previously managed their data Total responding/ 42/100 44/100 44/100 in isolation. This section explores organizational aspects percentage of the purchase, management, and use of APC systems. N/A = not available.
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19 Implementation of APCs necessarily involves multiple The most frequently mentioned challenges to successful departments within the transit agency. Table 17 reports on implementation and operation included problems ensur- the impacts of APC use on the transit agency. The most ing that bus assignments were completed, new demands positive aspects of APC implementation included improved for reports, priority for APC equipment in the maintenance communication among departments, greater value placed department, and unrealistic expectations regarding turn- on ridership data, improved decision-making ability, greater around time and data quality. One respondent characterized responsiveness, and the ability to provide the needed data maintenance personnel's attitude as very negative: APCs to end users. Among other positive effects were better rela- drain power from the bus batteries and take technicians' tions with external agencies and management's reaction to time away from important work. better reporting. Among other negative effects were concerns from opera- TABLE 17 tors and the union, tensions regarding data accuracy and pro- Effects of Interaction Among Multiple APC Users cesses for addressing missing data, frustrations regarding Agencies start-up problems, APC system vulnerability to communi- Responding cations problems, lack of commitment from all departments Effects No. % regarding maintenance of the data collection process, and unmet training needs. POSITIVE Improved communications between Staffing levels for the passenger counting program 7 20.6 departments are summarized in Table 18. Smaller systems were more Greater value placed on ridership data 7 20.6 likely to assign fewer people in each category. The survey also asked about changes in staffing associated with an Better data leading to improved deci- 5 14.7 APC program. More than 70% of all agencies reported no sion-making ability changes or decreases in staff levels in each of the catego- Greater responsiveness to public/others 3 8.8 ries in Table 18, with notable decreases in the size of traffic Ability to provide data to end users 3 8.8 checking units. About one-quarter of respondents, none from small systems, indicated a minor increase (defined NEGATIVE as one or two full-time positions) in maintenance staff, and 22% (consistent across systems of all sizes) reported Difficulty with bus assignments 7 20.6 a minor increase in professional staff. Constant/increased demands for new or 5 14.7 reformatted reports Implementation of APCs does create a need for training. APC maintenance has low priority 4 11.8 A majority of respondents noted increased training needs in the areas of software/computer, analytical, and hardware Unrealistic expectations re: turnaround 4 11.8 maintenance skills (Table 19). Only 24% of responding time and data quality (i.e., not perfect) agencies reported no additional training needs. Total responding 34 100.0 TABLE 18 Staff Positions (Full-Time Equivalents) Assigned to Carry out Passenger Counting Program Total No. Category Less than 1 1 to 1.9 2 to 3.9 4 or more Don't Know Responding Managers/professionals 47.7% 29.5% 20.5% 2.3% -- 44 Support (e.g., equipment 54.1% 27.0% 13.5% 5.4% -- 37 maintenance Clerical 72.0% 20.0% -- -- 8.0% 25 Traffic checkers 44.4% 11.1% 7.4% 29.6% 7.4% 27 Other 42.9% -- 14.3% 42.9% -- 7 NOTE: "Other" includes data retrieval, data editing/analysis/report writing, and ad hoc traffic checking personnel.