Around the globe, public transportation administrators and operators are facing up to the challenges created by the impact of increasing congestion; capacity and budget constraints; aging infrastructure and workers; and increasing competition.
The volume of activity in the sector has reached unprecedented heights across the world. In the United States, transportation infrastructure includes nearly 151,000 route-miles of bus service and more than 7,000 miles of fixed rail transit. The European Union made 60 billion public transit trips in 2008, which equates to 120 public transportation trips each year for every person. In Asia, the Tokyo Metro, the world's busiest subway, hosts 8.7 million riders every day and more than 3 billion passenger rides annually.
Given these current financial, social and environmental realities, the public transportation industry is faced with the challenge to find new efficiencies to allow for transformational improvements. In order for public transportation authorities to provide quality, reliable, convenient and safe service, they need to gain full transparency around the different functional operations groups within an organization. This operations transparency (OT) requires managing rolling stock, infrastructure, facilities and equipment with more transparency and accountability than ever. This situation is exacerbated by two often contradictory and competing influences: rider expectations and limited resources.
This landscape faces several fundamental challenges:
- Infrastructure: The poor condition of this key area of transport needs significant investment to maintain a state of good repair
- Operations: Companies are increasingly managing shrinking budgets at a time when they must meet or exceed service reliability and quality
- Demand: Increasing urban population has a direct impact on capacity and service quality
- Fuel Costs: Rising fuel costs continue to impact bottom line at a time when organizations are seeing more demand for public transportation
- Cost Optimization: Many are seeking ways to extend vehicle life to rethinking capital improvement initiatives
- Sustainability: A focus on green transit is an increasing priority but implies higher maintenance costs
- Security: The pressure and scrutiny to meet safety and security requirements is only increasing
Operations Transparency: Taking visibility to the next level
The nature of today's public transportation industry makes the need for OT clear. Technology plays a critical role in optimizing visibility and efficiency to create ever-increasing levels of service execution in public transit. It requires managing operations through improved integration of service execution systems (SES), enterprise asset management (EAM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems — putting technology at the core of this approach. OT uses real-time integrated data collection and analysis for unprecedented visibility into daily transit operations for higher levels of decision support.
Successful OT requires knowing what management information to collect, how, and where to do so to ensure a holistic view. This is in stark contrast to what most public transit operators have today. The value of OT is not simply in having a new view of operations. Rather, it is in how transit administrators and operators act on data to drive whole-life optimal asset management. By doing this, they can make improvements that can help revolutionize public transportation for administrators, operators, workers and riders alike.
It does this by providing full, real-time, contextual visibility across service execution management, resource and asset management, and the ability to integrate with other interfaces so administrators and operators can gain actionable insight to drive business outcomes. The key to smart decision-making is coordination and collaboration across multiple departments enabled by integrated processes, tools, as well as technologies.