Train staff throughout the deployment of transit ITS projects to ensure successful implementation and use of ITS resources.
Five rural transit agencies' experiences in applying ITS to rural transit.
Statewide,New Mexico,United States; Austin,Texas,United States; St. John's County,Florida,United States; Marion County,Florida,United States; Putnam County,Florida,United States; Ottumwa,Iowa,United States; Williamsport,Pennsylvania,United States
- Initiate in-house training with a train-the-trainer approach. The train-the trainer approach has proven very popular with transit agencies for numerous knowledge transfer experiences. On the ITS front, this approach can help cut down the costs associated with bringing in outside parties to train staff members as well as building an in-house training capability which has obvious benefits. In-house training examples include:
- Employees of The Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) in Austin, TX attend annual Trapeze (CARTS software provider) user group meetings in Arizona, and trained staff conduct additional staff training as needed.
- Trained staff from the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged (CDT) in St. Johns, and Putnam Counties provides new participants with substantial amounts of peer-training and technical assistance with their RouteLogic software. The new participants found the training helpful from a technical aspect and also in facilitating cooperation between members of the various Community Transportation Coordinators (CTC).
- In New Mexico the Alliance for Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) conducts regional training on the Client Referral, Ridership, and Financial Tracking (CRRAFT) system for transit system staff. A training session is held in four of the five New Mexico Human Services Department regions. Each transit agency can send two representatives who then go back to their facility and train other personnel.
- Allow for sufficient time to train end-users, and budget for ongoing support. Transit agencies in Florida had a number of unexpected costs in the first few months of implementation, including expenses for overtime as staff tried to get accustomed with the system and get it up and running. The CTC in St. Johns County felt the formal training could have been better, and that training after upgrades was scarce. In New Mexico the ATRI is considering using Web-based training tools to supplement on-site training. This will provide the necessary means for the ATRI to maintain ongoing training as the system evolves.
- Include a pilot phase in the implementation process where hardware is installed on only a portion of the fleet and fully tested before full installation and use that as a training opportunity. Piloting helps eliminate any bugs in the system prior to installing hardware on the vehicles and offers staff a pre-operational training experience. In Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the contractor responsible for Williamsport's Traveler Information System (TIS) set up a sample Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) in the drivers room at the bus terminal in order to familiarize operators with the system before implementation on the entire fleet. Also, in Austin, TX, CARTS included a pilot phase in the implementation process of their MDT's, where the live system was installed on only a portion of the fleet. The purpose of the pilot was to complete end-to-end testing of the Mobile Data System under real-life conditions so that any remaining system issues could be identified and addressed.
- Develop regional sharing networks to facilitate communication between staff members from multiple agencies on advancements in ITS resources. With the exchange of information among neighboring agencies, staff are able to learn from the experiences of their peers, and find ways to improve their current practice(s). In Austin, TX, CARTS is currently working closely with other Texas operators to start a Texas Trapeze users group.
Author: Joana Conklin, Carol Schweiger, Buck Marks, Yehuda Gross, William Wiggins, Karen Timpone
Published By: Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT
Source Date: March 2003
EDL Number: 13784
Other Reference Number: Report No.FHWA-OP-03-77URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/jpodocs/repts_te/13784.html
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
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