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FINAL REPORT

OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ASSOCIATION

PEER REVIEW PANEL


FOR

PIERCE TRANSIT

Lakewood, W A

November 2009

A Service of the American Public Transportation

Association

FINAL REPORT
OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ASSOCIATION

PEER REVIEW PANEL


ON THE

COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
AT

PIERCE TRANSIT

PANEL MEMBERS: Olivia Jones Christine Kuennen Mark Lonergan Jeff Hiott Greg Hull

Published by the American Public Transportation Association 1666 K Street, NW, 11 til Floor Washington, DC 20006 William Millar, President

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I.

INTRO D U CTI ON

II.

OBSERVATIONS

& RECOMMENDATIONS

III.

CO NCL USI 0 NS

APPENDIX
A - Peer Review Request B - Peer Review Agenda C - Document List

Pierce Transit

APT A Peer Review Report Communications Center/ Operations

I.

INTRODUCTION

In August 2009, Ms. Lynne Griffith, Chief Executive Officer, Pierce Transit contacted the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) to request a peer review of the agency's Communications Center and its operations. As Pierce Transit was in the midst of addressing a variety of challenges resulting from agency growth, and new communications technology, it was felt that such a review could assist the agency to ensure that the transition to the new Communications Center and Operations interface would be effected in a manner that would best support service delivery and emergency responsiveness. Through discussions between APT A and Pierce Transit staff, it was determined the review would be conducted November 2-5, 2009. A panel of industry peers was assembled that provided expertise in bus transportation and specifically in control operations. The peer review panel (panel) consisted of the following transit individuals. Olivia Jones Assistant Transportation Officer Star Tran I Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority Austin, TX Christine Kuennen Transit Control Center Manager Metro Minneapolis, MN Mark Lonergan Chief Operating Officer Sacramento Regional Transit Authority Sacramento, CA Jeff Hiott Senior Program Manager APTA Greg Hull Director, Security and Operations Support APTA

The panel convened in Lakewood, WA on November 5, 2009. Panel coordination and logistical support was provided by APT A Staff Advisor Greg Hull. Mr. Hull also coordinated panel member input in the drafting of this peer review report. Dan Dzyacky, Director of Operations provided agency liaison support.

Pierce Transit

APT A Peer Review Report Communications Center! Operations

Methodology The APTA peer review process is well established as a valuable resource to the industry for assessing all aspects of transit operations and functions. The peer reviews are conducted onsite by highly experienced transit personnel who are selected on the basis of their subject matter expertise. Through the benefits of on-site interviews of agency staff, review of relevant documents, and inspections the panel concludes its review with a summary of observations and recommendations to the senior management team of the transit agency.

Scope of Report The scope of this reVIew focused on operations. It was suggested the peer review training & certification requirements, Union procedures, and interoperability in an effort. efficiency and effectiveness. evaluating the Communication Center and its team review staffing, roles & responsibilities, coordination, policies & procedures, dispatch to identify opportunities for improvement in

The panel conducted this peer review through operational observations, documentation review, and a series of briefings and interviews were conducted with Pierce Transit staff. The observations and recommendations provided by this peer review are offered as an industry resource for consideration by Pierce Transit in support of the agency's goal to enhance the operations of its Communications Center.

Pierce Transit

APT A Peer Review Report Communications Center/ Operations

II.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Pierce Transit is commended for successful implementation and start-up of the Computer Aided Dispatch! Automatic Vehicle Locating system (CAD / AVL). The management team at Pierce Transit is committed to engaging all employees to move the organization forward in continual improvement.

1.

STAFFING

It is the panel's view the number of Service Supervisors is high relative to the organization's size. The panel also feels the number of manager / assistant manager positions in the operational areas exceeds that found in comparable transit system. The role of the Coordinator position in Operations was unclear to the panel. 'The instability and rotation of specialized Operations supervisory disciplines is detrimental to organizational effectiveness. A labor issue exists in considering separation of Operations supervisory within Service Supervisor functions, given the unionized status of those positions. Recommendations The panel suggests a review for possible efficiencies gained from reallocating midmanagement staff, including the Coordinator. Pierce Transit should consider reallocating Service Supervisor assignments / shifts to support communication and dispatch disciplines. Pierce Transit is encouraged to develop a procedure that ensures proficiency in the relief supervisor role within the areas of communication and dispatch. 2. ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES disciplines

It was noted by the panel that the roles and responsibilities of supervisory functions are not well defined. There appears to be a need for separate job classifications. Pierce Transit staff consensus is a need for role definition with the Communications Center, and between field supervisors and security personnel. The panel is not aware of any performance expectations or reviews for supervisors. There appears a lack of empowerment, with frequent requirements to contact management for decisions. Management responsiveness to suggestions for improvement seems lacking. There does not appear to be a strategy for the incremental approach to achieving full functional capabilities of the CAD / AVL system, nor a strategy to manage the workload for Communications Center staff.

Pierce Transit

APT A Peer Review Report Communications Center/ Operations

2.

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

(continued)

Recommendations The panel encourages Pierce Transit to conduct an in depth review and defining of position roles and responsibilities, to keep in line with operational needs and agency goals. Pierce Transit should ensure that standardized performance measurements and reviews are in place and applied for all supervisory and management positions. The panel suggests Pierce Transit define a clear separation of duties and responsibilities within the specialized functions of the Communications Center, and between field supervisors and security personnel. Pierce Transit management must ensure that supervisors are provided the authority needed for effective operations. The panel suggests initiation of a process to garner suggestions from all staff, and include a requirement for response and follow-up to staff suggestions / comments. The panel encourages development of an incremental strategy for implementation of the CAD / AVL system over the next 3-5 years.

3.

TRAINING & CERTIFICATION

REQUIREMENTS

The training provided for all supervisory positions does not appear adequate or consistent, although the initial CAD / AVL training administered for operators was well organized. There appears to be no in-service outreach on CAD / AVL for individual operators and other personnel also, there appears to be no system to assess skill levels and competencies. Recommendations The panel encourages Pierce Transit to reVIew the competencies and training requirements for all supervisory positions. The agency should ensure that a formal, coordinated training program is developed for each supervisory function. Pierce Transit is encouraged to design and implement a follow-up refresher program for CAD / AVL training, for all relevant personnel. The panel also suggests development and implementation of an in-service training program for individual staff that require remedial CAD /AVL training. Pierce Transit should ensure that programs are based on actual, identified competencies required when designing supervisory training programs.

Pierce Transit

APT A Peer Review Report Communications Center/ Operations

4.

UNION REQUIREMENTS

It was observed that supervisors do not have the full capabilities needed for effective supervision (e.g. performance management), although these positions are required to direct the workforce. The panel noted that supervisors are in the same bargaining unit as the positions they supervise. This practice is not the norm in transit and presents barriers to effective supervision. A comment on this topic was noted in the Staffing section of this report. Recommendations Pierce Transit should consider a review and identification of capabilities needed for effective supervision by Service Supervisor positions, including performance management.

5.

POLICIES

& PROCEDURES

The SOP structure within the Communications Center is not refined enough to address the required separation of duties and responsibilities within each supervisory discipline. It was apparent to the panel there has not been an effective procedure in place for prioritizing emergencies or priority and routine calling procedures (e.g. PRTT, RTT) within the CAD / AVL system. The panel observed that adequate training and reference materials are available to support the training requirements for CAD / A VL; however, there does not appear to be adequate clarity on expectations as to the equipment's use in daily functions. (See also the notes regarding incremental approach within the Training section of this report.) A lack of strategy is apparent to effect data messaging versus voice communication. The existing canned messages are too numerous and too confusing, in particular for this stage of the CAD / AVL implementation. The interpretation by Pierce Transit of the new state law pertaining to "hands free" communications has created significant operational problems with respect to communication. The panel noted there is not current means to coordinate and authorize security and police response with the current Communications Center structure. No current process for reporting status on duty Nextel usage confuses communication practices This problem is viewed by the panel as a critical employee safety issue.

Pierce Transit

APT A Peer Review Report Communications Center/ Operations

5.

POLICIES & PROCEDURES

(continued)

Recommendations Pierce Transit is encouraged to seek legislative exemptions to the "hands free" law. Pierce Transit is also encouraged to maximize use of existing exemptions in the law for emergencies and accidents which are in the "hands free" legislation. The panel suggests development of SOPs to address required separation of duties and responsibilities within each supervisory discipline. The panel also suggests development of procedures for the effective prioritizing of emergency and priority and routine calling procedures (PRTT, RTT) in the CAD / AVL system. Pierce Transit should develop and communicate directions for Operators, to clearly outline the expectations of using the CAD / AVL equipment in daily functions. Pierce Transit is encouraged to refine and update the strategy for support and effective transi~ion to data messaging from reliance on voice communication. Pierce Transit is encouraged to review and reduce the current level of canned messages used within the CAD / AVL system, to assist in creating a more user-friendly system. The panel strongly encourages Pierce Transit to incorporate security and police dispatching within a coordinated central Communication Center structure.

6.

DISPATCH PROCEDURES

Where police functions exist within transit agency operations, it is common practice. to have dedicated dispatching functions included in the agency's communication structure. Currently, the Pierce Transit police and security officers self-dispatch which the panel considers a critical employee safety issue. Recommendations Pierce Transit is encouraged and determine how police / that structure effectively. The panel encourages Pierce transition from their current Communications Center. to review the agency's Communications Center structure security functions can be included and coordinated within Transit to also review how police and security officers can self-dispatch practice to one of being included within the

Pierce Transit

APT A Peer Review Report Communications Center/ Operations

7.

INTEROPERABILITY Pierce Transit is aggressively pursuing strategies and regional emergency centers. The panel was made aware and continues to be engaged in exercises to test the response and interoperable communications.

It appears to the panel that functional relationships with local and of the fact Pierce Transit has been effectiveness of coordinated emergency Recommendations

The panel encourages Pierce Transit to continue efforts towards strengthening functional relationships with local and regional emergency centers. Pierce Transit is also encouraged to continue the testing of emergency response and preparedness capabilities through drills.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS It was evident to the panel that all levels of personnel have a need for improved vertical and lateral communications. It was also noted that CAD I AVL presents a viable tool for aiding on time performance management. Pierce Transit may not have developed an effective strategy yet for utilizing the full capabilities of this system to address on time performance management. The panel encourages Pierce Transit to review technical staffing support for the CADI AVL systems to ensure that at least one technician is dedicated solely to these activities. Pierce Transit is encouraged to take advantage of existing programs to support skills training in the area of effective public safety communications. It appeared to the panel there is a lack of adequate performance metrics. If such elements do exist, Pierce Transit staff are not aware of them.

Pierce Transit

APT A Peer Review Report Communications Center/ Operations

III.

CONCLUSIONS

In conjunction with its strategy for the implementation of the new Communications Center and CADI AVL operations management system, Pierce Transit determined that it would be in the best interest of the agency to engage industry peers to offer an external perspective for ensuring a successful transition of this structure and technology. This initiative is clearly indicative of a progressive and proactive transit agency. As with the introduction of any new processes, the new Communications Center and CADIAVL technology requires the engagement of all stakeholders and challenges the organization in re-visiting working relationships and support required to maximize the value of this new structure. The panel hopes the observations and recommendations provided through this peer review proved to be of assistance to Pierce Transit in this transition and in the organization's pursuit of operational excellence. All the Pierce Transit staff encountered by the review panel regarded Pierce Transit as being a preferred place of employment. It is evident to the panel that the emphasis upon effective and quality service delivery is understood by Pierce personnel at all levels and provides the organization with a mission will continue to strengthen the quality of services provided.

The panel stands available to clarify any questions recommendations. Our appreciation is extended to all excellent cooperation throughout the review. During all Pierce Transit provided the panel with comprehensive review process.

with regard to any of its findings and personnel for their professional and meetings and discussions, the staff of information that greatly assisted the

Pierce Transit

APT A Peer Review Report Communications Center/ Operations

APPENDIX

August 17, 2009

Mr. William Millar, President American Public Transportation 1666 K Street NW Washington, D.C. 20006 Dear Mr. Millar:

Association

Pierce Transit is requesting that APTA conduct a peer review of our Communications Center and its operations. We recently completed installation of a Motorola 700MHz radio system with TMS CAD / A VL. A number of challenges have emerged as a result of Agency growth and technology insertions that are adversely affecting our service delivery and emergency responsiveness. As a result, we are requesting a comprehensive review of all aspects of our Communications Center be done. Areas of importance include, but may not be limited to, the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Staffing - Are levels of staffing adequate to provide support to a system of our size? Training and certification requirements - Do our technology insertions exceed the potentia.! of our current employee population? Union requirements - Should the position of Communications Center Controller be a separate career field in order to best meet the needs of our employees and our public? Policies and procedures - Do we have adequate training and reference materials available for our employees to use in meeting the requirements of their positions and potential situations? Dispatch procedures - For the first time in our Agency's history, we are dispatching to Police and Security Officers. Are we doing this in the most efficient manner possible? Interoperability - Are we capable of interfacing effectively with loca.! and regiona.! emergency centers? Roles and Responsibilities - Do our Service Supervisors support and deliver the Comm Center's direction and service solutions in the best possible manner? Are there efficiencies to be gained in this area?

Members of my staff have spoken with Greg Hull about this peer review and we are aware of the Peer Review Guidelines. We are looking forward to the upcoming ADA Paratransit peer review. I realize that scheduling a review of this type takes effort and time to coordinate but I cannot emphasize enough the. criticality of this review. If at all possible, we would like to target the early November 2009 timeframe for this review. I have appointed Barb Hiatt as our lead in coordinating information is 253-983-3445 or bhiatt@piercetransit.org. the schedules for this project. Her contact

3701 96 St SW Lakewood WA 98499-4431

th

PO Box 99070 Lakewood WA 98496.0070

- 253.581.8080

- FAX 253.581.8075

- piercetransit.org

Page 2 of2

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this request. 581-8010.

My direct number is 253-

cc:

Sam Desue, Vice President, Transportation Dan Dzyacky, Director of Operations

Serviced

APTA

Peer Review- Communications November 1-5, 2009 SCHEDULE

Center

Appendix B

Focus

of Peer Review Review will be on the supervisory functions review of the functions of the operations their interface with the acc. Areas of limited to, the following: of

he primary focus of the APTA Peer .he Control Center. In addition, a field supervisors and particularly importance include, but may not be

1. Staffing - Are levels of staffing adequate to provide support to a system of our size? 2. Training and certification requirements - Do our technology insertions exceed the potential of our current employee population? 3. Union requirements - Should the position of Communications Center Controller be a separate career field in order to best meet the needs of our employees and our public? 4. Policies and procedures - Do we have adequate training and reference materials available for our employees to use in meeting the requirements of their positions and potential situations? 5. Interoperability - Are we capable of interfacing effectively with local and regional emergency centers? Below is the APTA ~eer Review Team's schedule. We should all approach the schedule with some flexibility in mind so that the APTA Peer Review Team or Pierce Transit staff can make adjustments as needed.

Schedule
Date and Time

Location

Attendees

un, November 1 6:30 p.m.

Mon, November 2 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.

Revised 10/13

Date

and Time

Focus Overview of Communications Center and Service Support Tour of Communications Center
St.

Location Helens Room and Communications Center

Attendees Dan Dzyacky, Director of Operations Sylvia Daughtrey, Communications Mgr Ray Hawkins, Comm. Asst. Manager Ron Moyer, IT Project Manager Kevin Bradley, Service Support Manager Laural Curry, Service Support Asst. Manager

9:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

12:00 to 1:00
p.m.

1:00 to 2:30
p.m.

2:30 to 3:00
p.m.

3:00 to 5:00
p.m.

Tues, November
3

8:00 to 12:00
p.m.

Revised 10/13

Date and Time


10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Focus
Interviews Employees w

Location
Possible at TDS, Commerce, or Conf Rm 210

Attendees
Individual Interviews With: Jay Peterson, Customer Services Mgr Rick Falsetta, Customer Services Asst. Mgr Julie Clapham, Customer Service Rep SHUTTLE, Customer Service Rep

12:00 to 1:00 p.m. 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

3:00 to 3:30 p.m. 3:30 to 4:00 p.m.

4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Interviews Employees

Conf Rm 210

so Individual Interviews With: Kelly Hayden, Director Sched & Planning Dan Dzyacky, Director of Operations

of

Wed, November 4
8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Overview of Dispatch Service Supervisor Functions Dispatch Office and Conf Rm 210 Dan Dzyacky, Director of Operations Liz Williams, Fixed Route Manager Earl Fowlkes, Dispatch Asst. Manager
Revised 10/13

Date and Time


9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Focus
Maintenance

Location

Attendees
BIll S];hes, Director of Maintenance stan Medeiros, Lead Mechanic Steve Lamken, Lead Maint "Mechanic Individual Interviews With: Fred Nelson, Bus S&T Manager 1-2 Fixed Route Assistant Managers Three (3) Transit Operators Dispatch Service Supervisor APTA Peer Review Team

10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Interviews Employees

Conf Rrn 210

2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Thurs, November 5 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Panel

Caucus

Exit Conference

P:PTA Peer Review Team Lynne Griffith, CEO Sam Desue, VP Transportation Services Dan Dzyacky, Director of Operations Sylvia Daughtrey, Communications Mgr Kevin Bradley, Servic~ Support Manager Liz Williams, Fixed Route Manager Randy Hendrickson, Spec. Tran. Manager Rod Baker, Chief of Public Safety

Revised 10/13

Appendix C DOCUMENT LIST 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. OrbCAD CADIAVL Training Agendas OrbCAD CADIAVL Training Practice Exercise OrbCAD CAD/AVL Controller Training Manual OrbCAD CAD/AVL Training Outlinesl Lesson Plans Orb CAD CAD/AVL System- Executive & Management Training Slides Accident report Form Local Radio Log (9/29109) ST Radio Log (9/29109) Pierce Transit Rules 4320.25-.26; 4330.01, 4330.03-.04, 4330.09, 4330.12, 4330.15, 4330.20, 4330.22; 4340.01-.04, 4340.1 OA 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. Pierce Transit Controller Quick Reference Cards Communication Center Emergency Guidelines Quick reference (10/7109) Operating Manual- Communications Center (Rev 10109) Astro XTS 2500 Portable Radio Training Tutorial Motorola Radio Equipment Safety Manual Nice (surveillance system) User Guide Shuttle Communication Center Reference Guide Shuttle Dispatcher Training Outline Daily Outline- Special Duties for Supervisors Shift Areas Pierce Transit Supervisors' Manual (10108) Shuttle Passenger Assessment Form Shuttle manifest Documentation Training Shuttle Trip Observation Forml Site Investigation Requestl Special Event Reporting Forml Waiting Area Checklist