Road Network Operations
& Intelligent Transport Systems
A guide for practitioners!

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Staffing Levels

The staffing level is the number of people required to operate and manage the ITS implementation so that the services are delivered. It needs to be calculated in two ways:

  • the minimum number of people that need to be present at different times of the day
  • the total number required, taking account of such things as shift working

How these two totals are calculated will depend on a combination of the following nine factors:

  • How many different road transport activities, such as road traffic management, Public Transport management, tolling, parking, separate urban and inter-urban traffic management and travel information, will be covered by the services and how many of them will require separate management?
  • How much operator support and supervision will be needed to operate each service?
  • Will the each service operate all day every day and for those that do, are the same levels of management required all of the time?
  • How many geographic areas will be covered by the services and they will use a single control centre for all areas, or one centre for each area?
  • Do the services operate independently of each other and if not, does the inter-action between them enable staff to manage more than one service?
  • The number of organisations that will be involved in the operation of the services, such as road operators (urban and/or inter-urban), Public Transport service providers, toll service providers and Police?
  • To what extent staff can take management decisions and their levels of responsibility, specifically can operators take any decisions, or must some or all decisions be referred to particular managers?
  • What constraints do local employment laws impose, such as setting a maximum number of hours that a person can work continuously and in any week, plus what allowances must be made for holidays, training and sickness?
  • Will maintenance be carried out by the organisation that is responsible for the management and operation of the services, or will it be subcontracted to one or more external organisations?

Not all of these factors will be relevant to every ITS implementation – but those that are will determine the maximum staff requirements needed.

Required Skills

The scope and content of the services provided by the ITS implementation will determine the skills that staff will require to possess in order to operate and manage it. Also the level of responsibility to be assigned to each member of staff will be another factor that determines the level of skill. The ideal member of staff will need to possess the following skills:

  • Be computer literate, able to operate a computer, with familiarity with the particular type of computer(s) and/or operating system(s) being used an advantage
  • Have some knowledge of ITS services, such as what they can do and who will use them
  • Have some knowledge of road traffic management practices, such as how traffic signals work, how they can be controlled and vehicle detection
  • Have some knowledge of how Public Transport services are provided and the constraints under which they have to operate, such as the need for driver rest periods
  • Where an applicant does not possess some of these skills but is otherwise suitable, then training should be offered. This should be initial training and provided when they join to enable them to do at least one job, plus follow-on training to expand the range of jobs that they can do

If the organisation that operates and manages the ITS implementation decides to carry out its own maintenance activities, then a new set of skills will be needed. These will be more technical and may cover such things as component replacement, component repair and software maintenance. Candidates for these staff positions will either need to have had specialist training, or to be provided with it when they start work. Such training will almost always be available from hardware and software component suppliers, but in the case of software may also be available from other organisations.

The maintenance of the communications networks is often best provided by the communications network provider(s). On occasions access will be needed to their premises and/or equipment, some of which may be used by other network customers. It is often useful to have staff capable of diagnosing communications problems, so that the right network provider can be contacted and given some vital information about the possible nature of the problem.

Issues for Developing Economies

Getting people with the right skills in ITS as described above may be difficult. There may be several options to resolve this issue, but two of the most obvious are:

  • buy in the skills from outside
  • train local people

Of the two, the first is the short-term solution and may be initially cheaper. In the longer term, training local people is the answer, even if it is more expensive initially. There are many organisations that offer suitable training, and sometimes it can be included in the contracts for suppliers and/or system integrators. Many of them will provide the training either at their own premises, or in the location where ITS is being implemented. The acquisition of experience in communications is probably best left as an issue for the communications providers to resolve.

Reference sources

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