Planner SOP 001: Schedule Data Management and Implementation

Purpose 

This procedure provides information for appropriate transit agency staff to help ensure that the published schedule is properly loaded into the CAD AVL system and is running correctly. This process also describes the steps that should be taken for pushing out any type of service change. Service changes are typically the result of new bids, route changes, trigger box updates, announcement updates, route trace updates, and GTFS feed updates.   

Operational Impact and Metrics  

Operational Impact: Schedule and service changes that are not correctly published and loaded into the CAD AVL system can have an impact on the operator’s ability to log into the MDT as well as operations ability to receive real-time updates from each bus and block. If this process is not administered correctly, it could also have a negative impact on data collection and reporting. If the schedule is not loaded or running correctly, on-time performance data will not be accurate, and other features of the CAD AVL system may not function properly; for example, automated stop announcements on the transit bus may not correctly call out stops.   

Metrics: Determine the accuracy and efficiency of the schedule in two ways: 

  1. Check the ‘Vehicle Files’ tab within myAvail from the time files are deployed until publish date to ensure the vehicle fleet has downloaded the new schedule files. 
  2. After the schedule deployment date, the following items should be checked for accuracy: 
    • 100% of scheduled blocks are collecting data – across all service levels 
    • Missing stops, missing segments, missing time points, and missing trips to identify data is being collected 
    • Running Times report confirming new schedule times is correct
    • On-time performance report for service discrepancies  

Definitions  

Frequency

This procedure should be followed every time a change is made to the schedule. New files should be deployed at least two weeks in advance of the schedule go-live date to ensure proper distribution.  

Roles and Responsibilities  

Implementation of this procedure is the responsibility of transit agency staff that are involved with  importing, updating, and editing schedules.

Procedure  

This procedure describes the high-level steps involved in producing, importing and managing the schedule.  

  1. Produce schedule using third party software (i.e. Trapeze, OptiBus, CSched, FleetNet, etc.) 
  2.  Export schedule as an XML or CSV file and move files to the “Schedule Set” folder. 
  3. Import schedule into myAvail: Build & deploy tab- Import tab
    • Launch the “Schedule Data Import” tool from the Build & Deploy tab in myAvail
    • Click on the “Import” tab and it will auto-launch the Planning & Scheduling product suite in ETMS (Import Card)
    • Browse for the files on the computer (usually in the Cdrive)
      • e.g. “Schedule Set” folder 
      • Open folder/ locate files/ extract files/ copy/ import
      • Imported data is automatically compared to what is currently in the system; differences are highlighted 
          • Verify there are no hard stops ( red color indicator is used to notify you that there are significant issues with the imported schedule data. You cannot proceed. Yellow color indicates soft stops- Avail recommends reviewing these too
          • Make the needed corrections in the scheduling software package, then re-reimport into myAvail again
      • View the differences for each type of data and confirm the correct variation.
      • The types of data include:   
        1. Route 
        2. Trips 
        3. Run 
        4. Stops 
        5. Service Level 
        6. Blocks 
        7. Confirm Mapping 
    • Merge the new data with the data currently in the new system and initiate schedule publication. 
      • Set the go-live date for new schedule data 
      • Select publish type: 
        • Minor – for correction to the existing schedule. This will adjust the schedule for internal reporting back to the last major update published. This publish type may affect previously reported NTD data. 

        •  

          Major – for new schedules, new service, and significant service changes. 

      • After selecting the publish type, the system will ask you to confirm your action with the statement: Are you sure? When you are ready, verify “Yes” 
      • Go to the Build and Deploy menu to “Validate Schedule” 
        • Major schedule issues should be corrected in the import file before proceeding to the working schedule in Avail. 
      • Working schedule vs Active schedule – The working schedule is a staging area. At publish date the working schedule pastes over the active schedule. The schedule should be as close to perfect as possible when created using the third party software before it is imported into the system.  
      • Avail specific fields are added to the working schedule before it becomes the new active schedule. 
      • If necessary, users can make changes to the imported Working Schedule in myAvail 
NOTE: The “current” schedule in myAvail is the active schedule; the “working” schedule in myAvail is the future schedule.

Go to the Geographic Tools tab in myAvail 

  1. Update trigger boxes - every stop has a geographic fence for GPS. If new stops are changed or new stops are added the trigger boxes will need to be adjusted or added. The trigger boxes will impact the dwell timer, announcements, and other automated functions. The trigger boxes also have an impact on reporting, including on-time performance. The myAvail system identifies what stops and trigger boxes need to be looked at. Trigger box updates may include:  
      • Location 
      • Size/shape (always select Save after changing the size or shape) 
      • Announcements (choose announcements from the list; or refer to the Add Announcement SOP to create a new announcement.) 
      • Heading of entry 
      • Head sign changes (if applicable) 
      • Repeat for each trigger box that needs to be change – remember to save size/shape changes (other changes save automatically) 

Update Route Traces 

  1. The myAvail system provides prompts for missing paths 
  2. Draw new paths between stops and/or trace new route where necessary 
  3. When defined, click on “generate” and save to save updated route trace 
  4. Repeat for each route that needs to be updated 

Build and Deploy Schedule Files - go to the “Build and Deploy” tab in myAvail, work through the sub tabs in order: 

  1. Validate schedule – most issues should have been resolved if the procedure described above was followed. 
  2. Click validate schedule.  
  3. Identify issue 
  4. Review recommended action 
  5. Resolve issue 
  6. Revalidate until no issues remain.  
  7. Confirm the name of schedule (was generated from import schedule) or change if desired 

Note - Common schedule issues at this point in the process typically include:

  1. Paths that need to be created 
  2. Route Traces that need to be generated 
  3. Trigger boxes that need to be reviewed 

Build a Schedule  

  1. Select files to build 
  2. Schedule Data and/or General Transit files 

Click on Build Output files 

  1. Status displays below 
  2. Resolve errors and warnings if they display 
  3. Review status and that there are no build error warnings 
  4. Confirm completion 

Deploy Schedule  

  1. Select deployment type 
  2. Select schedule type
      • This will be pre-checked based on selection at the merge point 
  3. Change start date to your desired publish date (the date is pre-filled from the merge process) 
      • If this is a “minor” publish type, select “correction” publish 
      • If this is a “major” publish type, leave unchecked 
  4. Review Ready for Deployment section 
      • Only check boxes for items that have numbers in parentheses (i.e.: have new files to send out) 
  5. Click on “Deploy” 
  6. View deployments to see progress.  Schedules will automatically be sent to vehicles when they enter the Wi-Fi range 
  7. Users can also view deployment progress from the “Vehicle files” tab, which identifies specific vehicles that have received the download, and which are scheduled 
  8. Use "Cancel” deployment to  cancel the schedule deployment 
  9. Use "Unschedule” publish to unschedule a scheduled deployment  

Supporting Documents

Related Training materials

\Schedule Deployment Training\Quick Guides\

  • Time Points & Trigger boxes
  • Quick Guide build & deploy
  • QC Diagram_Schedule Data Creation & Publish
  • Quick Guide Build & Deploy 6.5+

Video Work Instruction

 

Related SOPs

SP-002-01 Planning – Daily Schedule Analysis
SP-003-01 Planning – Farebox and APC Exceptions and Adjustments
SP-004-01 Planning – Manage Vehicle & ADA Announcements
SP-005-01 Planning – Using the Replay Tool

 

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