Does “coordinated operations” mean picking up the phone or leaving a note to pass critical information between departments? Then it’s time to be worried about your technology infrastructure.
When the Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL) public transportation service in Longueuil, Quebec, adopted an indoor location system, the technology had become more than a yard information tool: it was now a yard automation tool. With a rich set of integrated data deeply linked to bus location, RTL was able to streamline many operations simultaneously improving quality of service and efficiency.
At RTL, the electronic map display can not only be used to provide data about vehicles, but also to perform operations like assigning buses to routes, assigning drivers to buses, etc. To assign a bus to a route, a dispatcher simply has to drag-and-drop a bus icon onto one of the routes displayed in a list. Any bus showing a critical fault will immediately be rejected to prevent safety issues. When a driver arrives at the start of a shift he approaches an electronic kiosk where he swipes his smart card to be given his route and bus assignment, along with a map showing where the bus is located. Digital displays throughout the yard help direct him to the bus to expedite pullout.
This is a typical example of how operations can be coordinated once all information is integrated into one place along with the exact location of the vehicle. These operations can be as diverse as dispatch, maintenance, revenue drop, cleaning, fueling, etc. As more information is integrated into a single application, more decision making can be automated.
Intuitive User Interface
Does “Intuitive GUI” remind you more of the life forms evolving in your fridge than the user interfaces for your current computer applications? Then it’s time to be worried about your technology infrastructure.
Most people today have become rather adept at using graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and a well-thought-out GUI can make your computer experiences much simpler.
A well-designed indoor location system has just such an interface: displaying vehicle location and identification over a map of the facility or facilities. As mentioned previously, the icons that represent vehicles are often color-coded or overlaid with other symbology to indicate critical information just by looking at the map. Maintenance status, vehicle type and home-garage for multi-garage operations are all typical examples of information that are displayed graphically.
Today, indoor location systems are replacing manual markup sheets with reliable, up-to-date electronic maps showing all vehicles across one or many facilities. By integrating this information with other data sources, indoor location systems are streamlining and error-proofing dispatch and pullout, improving maintenance efficiency and optimizing parking to avoid time wasted due to blockage. But what of the future?
A Better Way
When you are surrounded by paperwork, trying to use computer applications that frustrate more than they help, the best way to know what’s going on is to get up and walk the yard. Do you think that there must be a better way to manage a yard? Then it’s time to get excited about your technology infrastructure.
Indoor location systems are transforming yard operations first by providing yard information, then yard automation. But how far can that go? A few “day in the life” vignettes can help illustrate where indoor location systems can take yard management.
The driver arrives at the yard at the start of his shift and approaches the electronic kiosk. When he swipes his smart card he not only clocks-in for his shift, but also receives his day’s driving assignment and a map to the bus he has been allocated. As he walks through the garage, digital signs help direct him to his assigned bus. When he reaches the bus he’s happy to see the one parked in front just pulling out: no blockage and no late-pullout today. On his inspection of the bus he notices a flat tire: this bus is going nowhere. He reports this using his mobile device — a few taps on the touchscreen and he is given his new bus assignment and a map of its location. This time there is no blockage and no flat tire, and he pulls out on time.