The National Academies

Transit IDEA J-04/IDEA 15 [Completed (IDEA)]

Internet Information Sharing for Transit Maintenance
[ TCRP J-04 (Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis--The Transit IDEA Program) ]

  Project Data
Staff Responsibility: Harvey Berlin

Transit maintenance data and information may be shared by public and private ground transportation agencies through the Internet. By sharing this information, cost savings are achieved in joint purchases, trading spare parts, and disseminating information related to transit maintenance, safety, and contracts. This IDEA project supported the Internet transit-maintenance information study in cooperation with major public transit agencies in the San Francisco Bay area. The study results show that transit agencies could achieve time and cost savings through Internet sharing of maintenance information.  
The transit information maintenance system communicates through the World Wide Web. Some of the potential benefits of the IDEA project for transit maintenance include: 
¡ Reducing the costs of purchase ordering by an estimated 80 percent by using electronic ordering rather than the current paper-based systems.
¡  Transmitting competitive bidding and pricing on requests for spare parts among ­participating vendors and agencies.
¡  Increasing supplier discounts for coordinated joint spare-part purchases.
¡  Reducing inventory costs due to just-in-time ordering by sharing of the estimated more than $400 million in reserve spare parts currently held in transit agency warehouses.
¡  Facilitating sales of surplus parts through a single announcement capability on the Web site.
¡ Optimizing periods between routine maintenance by the comparison of maintenance informa­tion between agencies that specifies tasks, work performance, and personnel ­requirements.
¡ Sharing maintenance and life expectancy records of parts, which results in more ­dependable and efficiently run systems for improved safety and convenience for passengers.
Using the Internet for sharing information provides the potential for reducing parts inventory costs of transit systems. Two journal articles by the California Transit Association in its Transit California magazine describe the possible benefits of a compendium of transit maintenance information. Following this Transit IDEA project, a large-scale demonstration project of a similar system started in 2000 under a demonstration project funded by the Federal Transit Administration to the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. NTIS # PB99-113227

The final report for this IDEA project can be found at:

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=2224