CERT&INFO: a tool for Public Transport performance monitoring and service contract management

Authors: Giorgio Ambrosino (MemEx [1]/), Massimiliano Pellegrini (Tiemme [2])

Sercice contract and public transport

In the last years the PT service contract has become the main tool for regulating the relations between Public Transport Authority and Public Transport Operators in the context of service operation and performances monitoring. Generally a PT service contract uses Key Performances Indicators (KPI) for assessing the reliability and quality of the service. Lower KPI values impact directly the contract management, triggering penalties and/or remedial measures (up to the closure of the contract) while higher values achieved during the service operation trigger bonus/incentives payment provided by the contracting body.

The management of the contract is a formal and also legal process committing both parties and contract prescriptions must rely on data which are reliable and verifiable.
In this context CERT&Info supports the monitoring process of the PT service reliability and contract KPIs supporting PTO in data reporting and PTA in the assessment and evaluation of the service operation accordingly to the contract obligations.

In any case, the two pillars of a correct PT service contract management are the accuracy of the reported data on service operation and the use of a commonly “agreed” tool between PTA and PTO supporting the whole process of data reporting, validation and monitoring.

CERT&Info covers these two pillars and simplify the relation between authority and operators.

Are AVM systems "Smart" enough for these needs ?

In the last decades, AVM/AVL (fleet monitoring systems) were deployed mainly to support real-time monitoring and regulation of PT-service operation on the network. Among the various functionalities, AVM/SAE systems reports the service operation data which are supposed to guarantee contract needs. The real story is a different one. AVM systems are deeply rooted in the real practice by operation procedures and largely dependent on interactions with a wide range of company staff and resources. The quality of data on the operated service, generated by the AVM-system, usually could be affected by:

failure in operational procedures:

  • lack of appropriate actions by the system management team in case of irregular cases of service for diversions or vehicle replacement, or errors in vehicle assignment;
  • poor maintenance of on-board devices and the overall system;

incorrect service planning/scheduling procedures:

  • inconsistent geo-located data for stops/nodes or stop-by-stop route segments;

technological aspects:

  • on-board hardware/software and communication failures.
  • system failure in detection of the correct service per line or trip operated by vehicle.

When these events, or others, occur, data reported by AVM can be partially or totally wrong so data reported by PTO are not representative of real operated services and the related KPIs achieved values are biased.

Nevertheless, with the recent technological developments, technical failures are minimized but not removed: on the other side, operational issues are in charge of PT operators and AVM systems cannot be so intelligent to recognize when data are corrupted due to inappropriate operating conditions. A second stage cross-check of data reported by AVM is thus required to validate the reported service and to assess its real performances: this process is not guaranteed by AVM currently offered by the market which provide reporting functions but not cross-analysis of data.

Therefore validation of service data requires a cross-analysis of data produced by AVM (at least limited to the incongruence cases). Then in the current practice of PTO/PTA the supposed “automatic process” provided by AVM is partially corrupted by the adoption of manual work.

Cert&Info as common tool for service performances validation

CERT&Info represents a new approach for supporting PTO and PTA with a high level and configurable Software Module which enables in the same environment the certification of the data coming from AVM and the validation of overall operated PT service (PTO side) and the continuous control and monitoring of PT service performances (PTA side).

CERT&Info allows the cross analysis of service data reported by the AVM system, in order to identify possible anomalies and differences between planned and operated service (pillar 1).

Based on the experience carried out by Tiemme, CERT&Info automatically detects an average of 65%-70% of real incongruence of service not appropriately reported by AVM system decreasing the amount of data which finally must be checked manually. Adopting CERT&INFO the validation of the data related to the daily service in the network of Siena (Tuscany) now requires 0,5 man/day (1 man/day less than before!).

Furthermore, CERT&Info can represent the common tool (pillar 2) for monitoring the performances of the operated services reducing the level of possible conflicts between PTO and PTA in the contract management. Indeed, from PTA perspective, CERT&Info can be the tool allowing a more reliable and effective monitoring and management of the service contract.

CERT&Info is also “simple” from the architecture side based on client application directly or indirectly interfaced with the data base of any AVM system (through data adapting interfaces). The CERT&Info client can be delivered as a software module either deployed and running in the customer software environment or hosted on a virtual infrastructure (virtual server) and delivered according to the Software as a service (SaaS)-model.

The figures shows the main components and some screenshot examples of the tool functionalities: login, selection of the analysis, trip analysis and map representation.

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Figure 1: CERT&Info main components

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Figure 2: Some screenshots: trips analysis and map representation

For more information please visit this website (where a video on the use of the tool is available) or contact Claudio Disperati.

  • Updated : July 4, 2016

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