Workforce Planning for Transit Operations

Principal Investigator(s):

Diwakar Gupta, Former Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Project summary:

The single largest line item on metropolitan transit budgets is labor cost. The demand for bus rides exhibits time-of-day, day-of-week, and seasonal patterns. Transit authorities face high labor costs, constrained work rules, and variable workforce availability due to planned and unplanned absences, as well as day-to-day variation in work required. Common practice to cope with this variability is to have a certain fraction of workforce serve as extraboard operators who are not assigned particular duties in advance, but are assigned to open work as it becomes available. The researchers will partner with Twin Cities' Metro Transit Management and use extensive data analysis and mathematical models to develop implementable approaches for improving extraboard sizing decisions. The project goals are consistent with Metropolitan Council policies, which require transit providers to promote innovation, efficiency, flexibility, and greater diversity of options in operating and managing transit services.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2010016
  • Start date: 07/2009
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Planning, Transit planning