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Optimizing Staffing levels and Schedules for Railroad Dispatching Centers
  • Published Date:
    2004-09-01
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-1.04 MB]


Details:
  • Corporate Creators:
  • Publication/ Report Number:
    DFRA.010350 ; DOT/FRA/ORD-04/01 ;
  • Resource Type:
  • Geographical Coverage:
  • Edition:
    Final Report, 12/99-02/01
  • NTL Classification:
    NTL-SAFETY AND SECURITY-SAFETY AND SECURITYNTL-SAFETY AND SECURITY-Human Factors ; NTL-RAIL TRANSPORTATION-RAIL TRANSPORTATION ;
  • Format:
  • Abstract:
    This report presents the results of a study to explore approaches to establishing staffing levels and schedules for railroad dispatchers. The

    work was conducted as follow-up to a prior study that found fatigue among dispatchers, particularly those who worked permanent night

    shifts. The present study had four objectives: 1) document current industry practices, 2) assess impact of current schedules on dispatcher

    fatigue, 3) develop methodology for establishing staffing levels, 4) develop alternative scheduling strategies.

    Through site visits to six dispatching operations, current industry approaches to dispatcher staffing and scheduling were documented. All

    six sites have three categories of jobs: regular, relief and extra board. Staffing levels are established through experience and management

    judgment. All of these sites use schedules that are categorized as non self-relieving 3-crew systems with a relief crew.

    The Relief Factor Formulas (RFF), the shift relief factor and the optimal staffing formula, are suggested as alternative methods for

    establishing staffing levels at dispatching centers. These methods compute an objective staffing level based on management criteria and

    historical data for “not at work days.” Staffing projections using the RFF assume that absences are equally likely to occur on any day of

    the week or season of the year so it is possible that there will be a limited number of days when overtime may be necessary.

    Current dispatcher schedules have a number of possible problems with regard to dispatcher fatigue and quality of work life. Alternative

    scheduling strategies that can relieve these are the following: A) Create a three crew self-relieving system, B) Allow fixed weekday shift

    for senior dispatchers and rotate days off for remaining positions, C) Assign relief dispatchers to a single shift and use extra board to cover

    unplanned vacancies on a single shift, D) Convert weekends to two 12-hr shifts. All of these options have the potential to reduce fatigue

    and ease the burden for schedulers who must fill last-minute vacancies.

    15. NUMBER OF PAGES

    103

    14. SUBJECT TERMS

    railroad dispatcher, staffing level, schedule design, scheduling system

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