Vehicle and crew scheduling

Vehicle and Crew Scheduling

Description / objective

This function involves the preparation of operational duties in compliance with the required service specification and governing regulations or “work rules” (such as on working hours and overtime pay), and assigning of vehicles and crew accordingly. It therefore involves service scheduling, preparation of contract and / or work-rule compliant operational duties, assigning vehicle types and road crews to these duties, preparing crew rosters, controlling the crew, and managing reserves and exceptions.

Efficient vehicle and crew scheduling may become a complex process depending on the scale of the total service offer, the number of vehicle types in the fleet, the restrictions on working practices, and the variability of the service offer and operating speeds by time of day, direction of travel, and location. Computer programs have been developed to facilitate this process, and explore the potential for minor adaptation in order to increase productivity.

ITS applications

Most service scheduling is carried out in advance of the operations in order to prepare timetables for traveler information and “running boards” or work assignments for drivers and route controllers / dispatchers. As such this is not an ITS application carried out in real-time, but it may be an ITS-facilitated function making use of up to date travel time information from vehicle location systems, etc. However dynamic rescheduling in response to incidents or emergencies is an ITS application, and cannot be achieved efficiently or effectively by manual means.

Advantages and cautions

Effective service scheduling is highly dependent on the accuracy of the data on commercial speeds and their variability over the various links of the route or network that are input to the program. These can be obtained from extensive observational survey, but use of automatic vehicle location technologies can readily supply the data volumes for statistical analysis and increased reliability.