Dept. of Transportation
Metro Transit Division

King Street Center
201 S Jackson St
Seattle, WA 98104
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Transit Control Head: Schedule Adherence and On-Route Status

The demonstration Transit Control Head (TCH) was the operator user interface to the Smart Bus equipment, and was installed in the demonstration coaches above the operator's compartment. The TCH provided:

  • Schedule adherence information, displayed as minutes ahead or behind schedule on the transit control head;
  • An on-route or off-route status indicator, displayed on the transit control head;
  • Recorded public service announcements that could be played to passengers at the operator's discretion;
  • Controls to allow the operator to override the automated stop announcements and automatic destination signs.

Objective 3: Transit Operator Feedback

Schedule adherence status:

  • In general, participants did not find this function helpful. None of the discussion participants relied on the schedule adherence function provided on the transit control head, which displays minutes ahead or behind schedule as of the trip's most recent timepoint. Most participants considered gauging the operation of their schedule as an essential aspect of their duties.
  • Participants also indicated the information would not be useful to them if provided in an alternative format, such as predicted arrival time at their next timepoint.

On-route/off-route status:

  • In general, participants did not find the on-and off-route status indicator on the transit control head useful, and recommended excluding it from a future system implementation. Participants considered being on-route as one of their key responsibilities in operating the vehicle, not requiring automated assistance.

Public Service Announcements:

  • Participants described the public service announcements that could be played by the transit operator as a useful function, but difficult to access on the demonstration transit control head installed above the operator's compartment. Participants said they would use the function if it were easier to reach and required no more than two keystrokes.
  • Suggested announcements included announcements of the fare structure, "Please the exit through the front door only," "Please have your fare ready," "Please move to the back," and "Please refrain from using profanity."

Objective 4: Issues and Recommendations for Implementation

  • As they did not find the schedule adherence and on-route status information useful, transit operators participating in the debriefing session recommended that these features be excluded from a future onboard systems implementation.
    • A few participants expressed concern about the potential use of schedule adherence information for disciplinary purposes.
  • Based on their experiences with the demonstration coaches, participants suggested the following features for a future Driver Display Unit:
    • An accurate clock, such as the clock provided on the demonstration TCH;
    • A list of ADA stops for use in case the stop annunciation function isn't working;
    • An automated display of run card information, showing next timepoint and scheduled time, one line at a time.
    • A more user-friendly system requiring fewer keystrokes to make it easier for operators to intervene if the system malfunctions, or if the operator wishes to make stop announcements themselves.

Operator Training

  • Discussion participants said they received either a brief explanation from the training office staff and a printed handout, or the handout alone, to prepare them to operate the demonstration equipment. Generally participants indicated they felt adequately prepared for the basic log in procedure, but felt less prepared for system troubleshooting or other special circumstances that arose.
  • Most participants stated they would like to see an operator training class offered if smart bus technology were implemented on the fleet. Other training related suggestions from participants included: instructions in The Book, a user-friendly instruction manual, posted instructions near the DDU, and a working training model of the equipment at the Training Center.
Updated: Sept. 2002