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29 The findings show that effective maintenance of elevators and escalators (El/Es) is essential to providing safe and reli- able vertical transportation services to rail customers. When equipment does fail, agencies need to respond quickly to make needed repairs, provide alternative transportation when neces- sary, and use a variety of communication approaches to inform passengers of El/Es status and transport options. El/Es outages disrupt passengers, especially those with disabilities who rely on that equipment the most to reach their desired station. Find- ings also convey a sensitivity that surrounds this topic, which stems in part from the attention and negative publicity agencies receive when passengers are inconvenienced by downed El/Es. Adding to this sensitivity is a sense one gets from interviewing El/Es personnel that despite the importance of providing safe and efficient vertical transportation, the significance of this is overshadowed by more traditional transit modes, where bus and rail vehicles are seen as more vital and appealing. Findings from chapter two reveal that while agencies have publications available to them regarding safety codes from ASME, guideline specifications from APTA, and accessibility requirements through ADA, little is available to assist them deal with the many challenges they face in providing vertical transportation services in a public transit environment. The in-depth case studies presented in chapter three clearly establish the challenges: â¢ Unique El/Es applications exist where passenger use and environmental conditions are more severe than with other building-type applications. â¢ Lack of equipment standardization within each agency coupled with aging infrastructure greatly contributes to increased failures and maintenance needs. â¢ Insufficient personnel and resources in some cases affect an agencyâs ability to adequately maintain and repair equipment. â¢ Shortage of training and related educational resources restricts techniciansâ ability to obtain needed knowledge and skills. â¢ Difficulty obtaining spare parts for some El/Es adds to the length of downed El/Es. â¢ Public nuisance problems where patrons purposely shut down equipment as a prank aggravates agency efforts to maintain El/Es availability. â¢ Added El/Es features greatly improve passenger safety but also contribute to the number of equipment shut- downs and inconvenienced passengers. The case studies of chapter three point out that most agen- cies surveyed do the bulk of their maintenance and repairs in-house, while typically contracting out for major refur- bishments and replacements. When services are contracted out, strict oversight by the agency is absolutely essential to ensure satisfactory contractor performance. In cases in which El/Es are maintained collectively by agency technicians (i.e., no specialists), knowledge and skills needed by those techni- cians are greatly increased. Not all agencies are required to have licensed and certified technicians but several are prepar- ing them for certification through training. When developing technical specifications and planning expansions, input from technicians is essential. Case studies also show that agencies are reluctant to pro- vide, or do not have, information pertaining to unscheduled repairs and breakdowns, making it difficult to gauge their own performance. Additionally, chapter three shows that agencies use a variety of definitions to classify El/Es being unavailable for service, making performance comparisons between them difficult. While some agencies provide full maintenance cov- erage of El/Es equipment, others have more traditional work schedules, requiring them to call in workers when needed after normal business hours, which affects response time. Agen- cies also use a variety of measures to make prompt repairs as required by ADA and to inform passengers of downed El/Es equipment and alternative transportation. Most important, the case studies featured in chapter three demonstrate that agencies understand their El/Es responsi- bilities and use a combination of fundamental and innovative procedures to carry out those responsibilities. Chapter four culls out the successful practices, which include â¢ Comprehensive and documented maintenance programs that adhere to ASME, ADA, and other local require- ments and take into consideration original equipment manufacturer recommendations and local conditions; â¢ Asset management planning where the need for ongo- ing El/Es activities becomes an essential and integral agency function; â¢ Increasing preventive maintenance and inspections beyond those required by code to ensure public safety chapter five ConClUsions
30 is not possible, consider installing redundant equipment to improve accessibility when equipment fails. â¢ Effective maintenance improves El/Es availability and requires technician input and continual training. Moni- toring is essential to benchmark and improve mainte- nance performance. â¢ Instituting a central data collection point for all downed equipment from several sources (e.g., patrons, techni- cians, station agents, etc.) provides passengers with accurate El/Es status information. â¢ Educating customers regarding proper use of El/Es and expanding the use of video surveillance improves safety and discourages public nuisance. FUtUre stUdies Based on information collected from this synthesis, some suggestions are offered for future study. They include devel- opment of â¢ Standard definitions to monitor and measure El/Es availability nationally, â¢ Standard definition of âprompt repairâ for all agencies to use that expands on the ADA definition, â¢ A process that transit agencies could use to determine appropriate staff levels needed to effectively maintain and repair El/Es, â¢ Guidance to assist agencies to effectively monitor con- tractor activities and performance, â¢ Additional El/Es standards, â¢ An expanded study to provide additional information regarding asset management plans, safety, communica- tions, and use of universal designs, and â¢ An Internet forum where El/Es professionals can exchange information. as well as giving the agency added protection from costly injury settlements; â¢ Use of hands-on training and mentoring as an effective way to enhance technician knowledge and skill levels; â¢ Participation in a national consortium that will provide agencies with more comprehensive training programs where resources are shared on a joint laborâmanagement basis; â¢ Improving worker efficiency by assigning them to geo- graphic areas and storing tools and parts locally to reduce travel time; â¢ Using maintenance and repair data to seek the root cause of problems to reduce unintended failures and equipment downtime; â¢ Increased use of video surveillance to reduce public nuisance pranks and frivolous lawsuits; and â¢ Use of traditional and advanced communication sys- tems to inform customers of El/Es status and alternative transportation services. lessons learned Lessons learned from this synthesis study that could be of value to other agencies include the following: â¢ Upper managers and public officials need to have greater awareness of the specialized conditions and needs of those who maintain El/Es. â¢ Participation by all agency departments in the asset management process ensures that planning and bud- gets take into consideration life-cycle elements of ongoing maintenance and repairs, modernization, and replacements. â¢ Consider circumventing the need for El/Es during ini- tial station design to reduce on-going expenses. If this