TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 143: Managing the Transit Scheduling Workforce examines how transit agencies are recruiting, training, developing, and retaining schedulers. In the case where transit agencies use third parties to create schedules, the report also shows how transit systems manage those third parties.
The report is designed to assist transit agencies in managing their transit scheduling human capital. The report presents an overview of the practices and procedures transit agencies use to manage their scheduling workforce and will allow agencies to compare what they are currently doing with what others are doing in this area. The report also analyzes how transit systems are evolving their practices to adapt to industry and technological changes. It provides transit systems with new ideas and strategies to retain good schedulers.
The report also presents a literature review and results of a survey of transit agencies that use transit schedulers in their workforce. Case examples of five transit systems are provided; these present an in-depth analysis of various recruitment, selection, training, retention, and performance management strategies.
Transit schedules provide the blueprint for fixed-route transit—they affect operating and capital costs, safety, customer satisfaction, and operator well-being and health. Although scheduling has moved from a largely paper-based practice to one that now uses purposebuilt scheduling software and utilizes data collected from automated systems, transit scheduling is still a human process that is merely assisted by software and data.
Knowledgeable people are needed to perform most scheduling tasks, supply direction, and provide quality control. Moreover, the increasing availability and reliance on data and scheduling software are gradually changing the nature of a transit scheduler’s job—making computer and data analysis skills and acumen increasingly central to the transit scheduler role.
The scheduling process is labor intensive, detail driven, and ripe with opportunities for errors; to be done well, scheduling requires qualified and talented transit schedulers.