Condition-based vehicle maintenance systems can be enhanced and supported through in-vehicle data capture technologies monitoring the status of the vehicle’s drive-train and the parking system. Vehicle Maintenance Scheduling systems, which are not usually complex but may incorporate an extensive database, can be linked to other ITS applications such as Automatic vehicle Location (AVL) systems which hold data on the number of kilometres travelled.
ITS-supported maintenance systems can consolidate all records of planned and unplanned maintenance into a single system and may be designed to automatically generate maintenance schedules.
Telediagnostic systems, based on monitoring, can optimise preventive and predictive maintenance. This can lead to a reduced number of vehicles being required to operate a given bus network and so lower costs.
Advanced databases store a large number of users, records and enquiries. These can be integrated with administrative resources used to plan, monitor and record maintenance.
Best value from condition-based monitoring systems is usually obtained when they are integrated with the operator’s other systems - from the input provided by on-board monitoring systems to management accounts outputs.
Advanced vehicle maintenance systems focussing on maximising fuel economy are likely to be developed in the next few years as additional on-board equipment (including that needed for ITS systems). The increased weight may contribute to higher fuel consumption.
Advanced vehicle maintenance systems can help to structure and plan maintenance - but only if the equipment and physical infrastructure to deliver the required maintenance is already in place. They can be of help in demonstrating the consequences of failure to maintain vehicles in terms of unit failure rates and so provide valuable evidence to convince stakeholders (agencies and operators) that regular, structured, vehicle maintenance is a necessary requirement in running a bus service.