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The National Academies

Transit IDEA J-04/IDEA 62 [Completed (IDEA)]

Development of Maintenance Training Module for Bus Transit Technicians
[ TCRP J-04 (Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis--The Transit IDEA Program) ]

  Project Data
Staff Responsibility: Jon M. Williams
Research Agency: CDX Global Jones and Barlett Learning
Principal Investigator: Robert H. Mann
Fiscal Year: 2009

This project developed an internet-based electrical training module for transit technicians to meet a growing demand for understanding modern transit bus electrical systems.

The mass transit bus industry is undergoing rapid technological changes that focus on alternative fuel technologies and complex electrical systems. Diesel-electric hybrid buses, for example, are becoming increasingly common in bus fleets. The new buses have electrical systems that are often unfamiliar to technicians who are employed from other industries, such as automotive or heavy vehicle or equipment trades.

There is little bus-specific training going on in trade schools and community colleges in the US, so transit maintenance training managers have to rely on manufacturer-specific service information taught on the job, leaving a gap in fundamental knowledge of how multiplexing bus electrical systems work. Transit managers and mechanics, working with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Bus Maintenance Training Committee (BMTC), have identified the knowledge of modern bus electrical systems as critical to plugging the technician job skills gap.

The knowledge gap for bus maintenance technicians centers on the fundamental understanding of how to integrate multiplexing electrical systems with ladder logic and electrical schematics to troubleshoot and repair electrical faults. During a series of meetings, transit agency maintenance managers agreed that many transit service technicians could benefit from an enhanced understanding of these concepts and that the industry needed a broad electrical training program. In this project, CDX Global worked closely with APTA’s Bus Maintenance Training Committee members to incorporate their ideas in content and design of the training module that was developed in this project.

After consulting extensively with transit training managers, a course was designed that resulted in the creation of the training module titled “CDX Bus: Modern Electrical Systems.”

CDX adapted its pedagogical model of “Know-See-Do-Prove” to the bus transit industry because of its successful application in the automotive industry.

That model takes into account the learning styles of technicians in a blended learning approach where theoretical concepts are explained in computer-based courses and then matched with hands-on training. This approach successfully accelerates retention of principles and concepts, and lays the groundwork for more specific manufacturer training.

Following an extensive worldwide review by maintenance training managers and technicians, “CDX Bus: Modern Electrical Systems” is now available through the Jones and Bartlett Learning website on a yearly subscription basis with redeemable access codes.

The user interface for the course is designed to be straightforward and easy to navigate. It can also be updated quickly with any changes from stakeholders, making it ideal for keeping up with new technologies.

Jones and Bartlett Learning is now in the process of marketing the availability of this course through transit agencies, including the SCRTTC (Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium, http://www.scrttc.com/.) Jones and Bartlett is working with SCRTTC on a formal distribution agreement to make the CDX bus electrical course available to its twelve member transit agencies. The course is also being reviewed by Veolia Transportation.

The contractor's
final report is available.

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