Leveraging Information for Better Transit Maintenance

by Lionel A. Galway, Marc Robbins

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This report documents a study of innovative practices for transit bus maintenance, generated from analysis of current practices in leading transit agencies and transportation-related private firms. A set of ten "best practices" was documented in the first phase of the project; the second phase executed more intensive study of three of those practices, all related to the theme of better exploitation of information resources: electronic communication for transit maintenance, using maintenance information to support maintenance decision making, and using designed experiments in testing maintenance innovations. This study concluded that transit industry networking via electronic communication should be pursued through "top-down" and "bottom-up" strategies, with an organization like the American Public Transit Association playing a major role. It also found a need to disseminate new and more powerful ways to combine and present maintenance data to aid the diagnosis of the maintenance process. Finally, it concluded that designed experiments, especially at larger agencies, can be a powerful means for validating new procedures and for creating the basis for standardized procedures across the industry, but that coordination of designed experiments, possibly through federal agencies, may be required in some cases.

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