The National Academies

TCRP Synthesis J-07/Topic SA-55 [Active (Synthesis)]

On Street Bus Operations Management
[ TCRP J-07 (Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/7/2021 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: Daniel Boyle and Associates
Principal Investigator: Daniel Boyle
Effective Date: 12/6/2021
Completion Date: 6/6/2023
Fiscal Year: 2021

Tentative Scope




A consistent complaint from bus riders over the years has been poor service reliability.  Street management of bus operations attempts to maximize reliability for the benefit of passengers and operating efficiency.   Key features of street operations typically include: how agencies monitor schedule performance and how this data is used to inform central control and street supervisors of manifesting problems; as well as how corrective measures are then communicated to bus operators. It also includes proactive coordination practices to avoid foreseeable problems. 

Recently, many bus transit operators have implemented sophisticated run-cutting and scheduling practices and real-time automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems. Street operations supervision practices, however, seem to not have significantly changed on many transit systems.  A review of current operations management practices is needed for small, medium, and large transit systems. 

Synthesis Objective:

The purpose of this synthesis is to identify current practices in real-time management of street operations. The research will describe how transit agencies are monitoring and managing street operations including the tools, staffing, organizational  structure, and functions being used for the purpose.

Information To Be Gathered will include specific items as determined by the panel during the first panel meeting. These might include (among others):

·       Procedures, technologies and facilities for monitoring street operations – including GPS location and on-board cameras linked to operations or dispatch centers, as well as field transit supervisor tools and roles/responsibilities/authority as well as features of operation modern centers.

·       Procedures and technologies for communicating with drivers and dispatch – radios, cellphones, and laptops or tablets with internet service.

How the Information Will be Gathered:

• Literature review/internet search

• survey of transit systems

• Selected case examples


Information Sources:
Transit Agencies, Major technology companies serving this sector (like AVL vendors), APTA guidelines, TRB bus transit research, UTIP guidelines

TRB Staff
Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Phone: 202-334-2361
Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: September 23, 2021
Second Panel: June 9, 2022

Topic Panel 

Antoinette Brasson, Metro Transit (MN)

Mark Donaghy, Consultant

Gregory T. Edwards, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)

Peter C. Martin, CDM Smith

Al Martinez, Los Angeles County (CA) Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Thomas Ross, Pace Suburban Bus (Retired)

John C. Toone, Kings County (WA) Metro Transit

Karen Winger, Gwinnett County Department of Transportation

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