The Communications Queue, the Event Queue, and the Maintenance Queue operate very similarly and are described together here. These queues ( or tabs) are managed and proactively monitored by dispatchers, as the first line of defense for supporting vehicle operators in service. Dispatch monitoring is essential to ensure no important items have been missed.
Communications Queue: Because communications are so important within a transit agency, myAvail displays operator communication messages in their own queue. This queue displays Emergency Alarms and canned data messages from vehicle operators. For closed-mic systems, this queue displays RTT (Request to Talk) and PRTT (Priority Request to Talk) events. Dispatch action includes opening a call to the vehicle requesting an RTT or PRTT to provide support.
NOTE: Using VoIP requires a closed-mic system.TIP: Operators occasionally press the RTT or PRTT button multiple times if the dispatcher does not respond immediately. myAvail combines multiple RTT and PRTT requests from the same vehicle into one entry in the Communications window
Event Queue: This queue displays events that are automatically generated from vehicles in real-time and/or due to operator behavior.
- Operational events include Invalid Log On attempts, using Manual Mode, or the Out of Service mode, Vehicle Movement alarms, and Off Route notices.
Passenger Transfer Communications: Transfers for passengers depend on inbound and outbound vehicles sharing a scheduled stop location (also dependent on scheduled depart time). For example, vehicle A and vehicle B both service stop C. Stop C can be set as a transfer point for ridership using vehicles A or B. A 'critical transfer' communication is an event generated when a transfer is scheduled for the last stop on a run for a day, but it could be in jeopardy due to one of the vehicles running late or early, thus missing the transfer point. A critical transfer is one where an outgoing vehicle is the last transfer opportunity for a passenger that day.
- Maintenance Queue: This queue is dedicated to maintenance information and will display vehicle health monitoring (VHM) alerts, pretrip failures, mechanical event issues/system-detected issues, and sign communication failures. It allows your Maintenance department to manage and track events related to the health of vehicle equipment. Maintenance can view reported issues, create work orders (if using the Avails ERP solution), log events for reporting, and the ability to create incidents. Dispatchers also have the ability to monitor the Maintenance Queue at a high level, to communicate any high-priority issues to maintenance, as needed. Example: VHM alert, Priority #1s.
In addition to providing pretrip failure events automatically for your maintenance team, the Avail system can also provide Vehicle Health Monitoring. VHM alerts captured via the J1939 sensor, which is installed in fleet vehicles, provides real-time alerts, SPN (suspect parameter number), and FMI (failure mode identifier) codes, along with alert prioritization numbering for maintenance's troubleshooting needs. Use these VHM events to identify issues at the vehicle level, create work orders based on the information, identify trending issues, and more.
To support vehicle health monitoring, your vehicle installation specs must satisfy both Avail and vehicle hardware requirements. The system monitors vehicle health data that are gathered by vehicle systems that support J1939 such as:
- Engine control unit
- Braking system
- Fire suppression system
This information can also be set to trigger automatic email/text alerts to staff phones and/or email for relevant personnel accounts. This is a useful feature if a high-priority alert, #1 is generated from a vehicle, so agency staff is aware quickly.
An example Maintenance Queue is shown below.
Work Orders: If interested in enhancing your PM schedules to include the ability to create work orders from the Maintenance queue in myAvail, please contact your Avail representative or email email@example.com.
Maintenance staff can select a vehicle record from the Status tab to see its location on the map quickly, or use the Find Vehicle menu (near the center of the screen below) to quickly locate a vehicle by its ID, so it displays on the Operations map. This is useful for vehicle swaps and more:
The maintenance position can include multiple functionalities but will vary based on your agency configurations:
- Ability to send communications/voice calls to a vehicle
- Ability to see vehicle locations on the map
- To track a moving vehicle using the Follow function
- Use the block info tab to view a vehicle schedule
- Use ETMS to access the Vehicle Incidents card (in the Compliance product suite) and edit incidents where necessary
- Find the nearest supervisor vehicle by using the Find Supervisor function
- Use maintenance BI reporting to identify issues and possible trends
The 'Follow Vehicle' is available in the map tab menu by clicking the blue arrow in the top right corner of the tab. If you use Road Supervisor vehicles, use the 'Find Sup' button to identify their location/s on the map.
The maintenance position, by design, is fully customizable to meet your property's needs. For example, the system administrator can add/ remove permissions for each staff account, based on their workflow.
Handling the Communication, Event, and Maintenance Queues
For the Events and Communications queues, dispatch manages taking, responding if necessary, then logging these records to file them away to Business Intelligence reports. Maintenance manages the events in the Maintenance queue. In either case, use the following workflow:
- Take the event- First, select the record to highlight it, then choose the Take button, or right-click on the record, then choose Take using the pop-up menu
- Handle the event- respond if necessary
- Log the event- select the Log button, or right-click and choose Log in the pop-up menu
Using the right-click function to manage an event: right-click on the vehicle record, then use the menu to 'Take':
Using the Take button to manage the event: highlight event, then press 'Take':
On both the Communications and Events tabs, when a vehicle record is taken, the credentials of the dispatcher will display on the event record. This informs other dispatchers that the record is being managed. To handle the event, some action may be required. The action depends on the issue noted in the 'Message' column. Logging the event removes it from the queue and files it away for reporting. Your goal as a dispatcher is to take, respond where needed (handle), and then log the events in a timely manner. This process is your acknowledgment for monitoring vehicles on the road to ensure they are supported, safe, and on time. Managing events in a timely manner also reduces the volume of events in the queue and will help to avoid losing sight of issues that could interrupt scheduled service. Maintenance queue-Maintenance follows this same process of taking, managing, and then logging the maintenance queue/tab events/records.
When events populate the queue, myAvail displays the highest priority events at the top and then orders by time, oldest to newest, within priority levels. The Communications tab, Events tab, and Maintenance tab display counts that indicate how many events in the queue have not been taken.
After you take an event, myAvail displays your name in the Dispatcher column for that event, which alerts other dispatchers that you are handling the event. When you take an event, no other dispatcher can take it. Use the 'Release' button to remove your name from the record so another dispatcher can handle it. Select the event that has your name on it, then select the 'Release' button:
Depending on the event, the dispatch workflow often involves either calling the vehicle or sending a text message to the vehicle. When you take an event by double-clicking it, a window opens that allows you to call the vehicle, if configured, or send a text message to the vehicle.
In a closed microphone system, if you double-click an RTT, a window opens that allows you to make a voice call to the vehicle.
When you take an event, the event is yours to manage. The blue arrow to the left of the record indicates this ( noted above). myAvail associates any actions that you take at this point with the event. For example, if you take an RTT event from vehicle 1, and then set up a voice call to vehicle 1, then set up a voice call to vehicle 2, then call vehicle 1 back, myAvail associates all three actions with the RTT event from vehicle 1.
You can take another event before logging a previously taken event. When you take the second event, it becomes your active event, although your name is still displayed next to the previous event. To make the previous event active again, you'll need to select Take on it again. You can select multiple events and click the Take button to take all the selected events. In this case, the top event in the list becomes the active event.