Sifting through the huge amounts of data available is a universal issue in our digital world, and it’s no different for transit. Business Intelligence (BI) has become one of today’s greatest opportunities in our industry. Since transit operations require many different kinds of systems – like planning, fare collection, and fleet management – operators face the challenge of unlocking the true value of all that segmented data, and bringing it together to empower smart decisions.
With the onset of new information and advancing technologies, the need for public transit to operate more intelligently is of particular importance. It’s essential to have the right information, at the right time, accessible to the right decision-makers in your agency.
Case Study: CDTA
In Albany, NY, Zight – an INIT partner – has implemented advanced business decision tools that allow the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) to convert their operational data, like on-time performance, passenger miles, and real-time communications, into decision-enabling information.
The BI tool is a robust data platform with various visual indicators that help agency stakeholders assess and improve operational KPIs.
For instance, on-time performance is one operational challenge. Learning how often and why buses are too early or too late allows CDTA planners and schedulers to work together to determine how to increase on-time performance. Determining if tardiness is due to a late start from the depot, bad planning, out-of-the-way drivers or other various factors, was the first task.
Zight took a unique four-step approach which started with defining KPIs from CDTA's strategy and operational processes. Next, user-focused design workshops were conducted with all KPI owners and managers. Thirdly, dashboard designs were created and delivered to the agency for testing. (KPI owners were trained on how to best utilize the system for maximum profitability.) Finally, 23 defined KPI dashboards were implemented so managers could work with them to ultimately improve operational performance.
Ongoing support is given by Zight through frequent, hands-on KPI-analysis-meetings and quarterly performance improvement meetings. The goal is to help CDTA’s KPI-owners and management discuss and share status and plans so all KPI-owners are on the same page. In this way, Zight goes above and beyond to avoid any sub-optimization, while keeping CDTA’s strategy and ROI the ultimate focus.
Putting the Customer First
CDTA’s goal to build and improve relationships by delivering a high-quality customer experience was at the core of the innovative ITMS technology implemented by INIT and Zight. The resulting data-rich reports are empowering the agency to take further actions to fully support its goal of running a more efficient operation, while increasing performance and customer satisfaction.
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