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Center Identification Number:  10091


Project Title:  Repair Time Standards for Transit Vehicles - Phase III


Co-Principal Investigators:        


Grisselle Centeno
Phone: (813) 974-5587


Rajesh Chaudhary
Phone: (813) 974-1124




Industrial and Management Systems Engineering and

Center for Urban Transportation Research

University of South Florida

Fax: 813-974-5168


External Project Contact:     


Bob Westbrook
Florida Department of Transportation
(352) 337-3205



I.  Project Objective

Time standards are realistic goals that must be accomplished by operators and technicians. They could be used as performance measures by managers and supervisors. According to the literature, organizations that do not have standards in place typically operate at a 60% performance level. When time standards are established, performance improves to an average of 85%, a 42% increase.

Establishing time standards is critical to operate effectively in any competitive environment. In this project the Engine Removal and Replacement process will be evaluated and time studies will be conducted to develop the standards for each element component of this operation.

II.  Project Abstract 

This project is the continuation of the successful Time Standard initiative started two years ago to establish accurate repair time standards for vehicles in public transit systems. During the first phase time standards for each element in the process of repairing the braking system were reported and validated. In Phase II, time standards for the complex process of preventive maintenance were established. In addition, a database that compiles information related to the systems previously analyzed has been developed and tested. During this phase the Engine Removal and Replacement system will be studied and evaluated. Standards that optimize the time required to perform tasks, continually improve reliability of services and conserve resources at a minimum cost will be established.

The anticipated benefits of this systematic process are: to increase productivity and to provide a reliable service safely; to lower cost, thus allowing more quality services for more units that need to be repaired; to accurately estimate labor requirements; and to measure technician performance levels against validated baseline criteria.   

III.  Task Descriptions


The proposed scope of services for this project consists of the following tasks.

Task 1 Review of Related Work

This initial task will include additional review of the literature and existing efforts in the area of time standards for transit vehicles. With the progress made in developing time standard in the state of Florida, related work in being done simultaneously in other states. Review of these and additional latest literature will certainly help to improve the time standards.

Contacts with major transit agencies such as the New York City Transit, Miami-Dade Transit, transit agencies in California and research universities such as University of Southern California (USC) will be established in order to understand the methods used to support and modify processes, and to identify related needs and priorities. To the best of our knowledge, most agencies across the country do not have a systematic and analytical process to standardize operations. Collaborations with the aforementioned agencies will help us to ensure that no efforts are being duplicated and that the proposed research will be of impact to many transit agencies across the nation.

Task 2 Exploratory Phase

Analysts will visit the various participating locations to become familiar with the operating details in order to understand and illustrate how the current process is performed. Variability among location and among technicians will be documented. Until now, at least three different transit agencies are participating: Hartline, Lynx and PSTA. During this task, at least two visits will be made to each center to observe all the operations that encompass the process of removing and replacing the engine.

Task 3 Conducting Time Studies

●  This task requires dividing the system into operations and the operations into elements or components that will be separately observed. The number of observations required for a valid standard establishment will be computed and observations will be taken at the different locations.
●  Variability observed within the process will be documented and an optimal design of the process flow will be provided.

Task 4 Establishing and Implementing Time Standards

●  Based on the observations taken, the performance rate of the technicians and the allowance allocated, time standards will be justified for each element.
●  Tools or equipment required for more timely repairs will be researched and suggested.
●  The time standards will be developed in close coordination and direct interaction with the technicians, supervisors and maintenance managers. The feedback from the transit professionals will be taken at all stages of the study. In addition, the process of developing time standard will be monitored by the Transit Maintenance Consortium Group that includes all the transit maintenance managers in Florida.
●  With the assistance of the supervisors and other transit professionals, standards will be implemented. This will require operators with experience and good attitude and full support from administration. Specific directions will be given for the technicians to follow including the time standards and acceptance and easiness of the process will be documented for improvement.

Task 5: Updating the database

This is an ongoing task wherein a structured system, already designed in Phase I, will be updated with the standards developed for the Engine Removal and Replacement process. This data input is required in order to generate helpful reports for managers and supervisors for each of the systems already studied. New reports for this system will be designed and the User’s Manual will be updated. Technologies to be used for database construction are Oracle or SQL.

Task 6: Documentation of the research work

Documentation of research progress will be maintained and presented quarterly. This phase also consists of preparing final project reports, suggested time standard charts and database.

IV. Deliverables

There will be four deliverables for this project. The first two deliverables will be quarterly progress reports at the end of months four and eight. The third will be the Final Report”, in both draft and final forms. The four deliverables will be Database and User’s manual. Once approved by the FDOT Project Manager and the Research Office, fifty copies of the final report and technical memorandums will be provided on compact discs to the FDOT Project Manager.


V.  Project Schedule




















Literature Review















Exploratory Phase













Conducting Time Studies
















Establish and Validate Time Studies












Updating Database
















Documentation of Research Work
















Three months for FDOT's Review

















VI. Budget

Repair Time Standards for Transit Vehicles

- Phase III

Budget Categories

State Share

Center Director Salary


Faculty Salaries


Administrative Staff Salaries


Other Staff Salaries


Student Salaries


Staff Benefits


Total Salaries and Benefits




Permanent Equipment


Expendable Property/Supplies


Domestic Travel


Foreign Travel


Other Direct Costs 


Total Direct Costs


Indirect Costs





Notes: The project team will include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above. Budget request includes salary for clerical and administrative staff, postage, local telephone service, office supplies, general purpose software, subscriptions, and/or memberships.



VII. Implementation


This research project is intended as a guidance document to the transit industry. Upon completion, this report will be disseminated to the industry as guidance.


VIII. Student Involvement


Graduate students will have an important role, as they will be acquiring data at three or more transit facilities. They will design the time study forms and will be in charge of selecting the participating technicians. They will also be highly involved in designing and update the database.


IX. Relationship to Other Research Projects

This research is highly related to other two previous research in time standards for transit vehicles. Other reated projects that have been completed include:

1.  Audenaerd, L; Jafari, M.; Paaswell, RE. Application of Industrial Standards to Bus Maintenance Procedures. Transportation Research Record, Issue 1571, 1997.
2.  DeLibero, S. Improving Bus Maintenance in Washington. Mass Transit, Volume 13, Issue 10, October 1986.
3.  Fahey, J. Can Your Maintenance Department Do More Work? Proceedings of the 1998 Bus Operations, Technology, and Management Conference, 1998.
4.  Henke, C. Maintenance By Objective. Mass Transit, Volume 20, June 1992.
5.  Inaba, K. Allocation of Time for Transit Bus Maintenance Functions. NCTRP Synthesis of Transit Practice, Issue 4, August 1984.
6.  Leveraging Information for Better Transit Maintenance. TCRP Research Results Digest, Issue 13, November 1996. Transportation Research Board.
7.  O’Brien, LG. A Question of Standards. Transportation Research News, Issue 86, 1980.

XI. Technology Transfer Activities/Peer Review

A database will be developed to store repair time standards in order to make times available for continuous use and for future modifications. The final report will be available on the CUTR website. In addition, a postcard mailing will be created for individuals in the Florida Maintenance Training Program mailing list, including the names and addresses of maintenance managers and transit directors from around the nation, notifying them of the availability of the study.

XII. Potential Benefits of the Project

The principal benefits of having accurate time standards for repairing transit vehicles are: a) to increase productivity and to provide a reliable service safely, b) to lower cost, thus allowing more quality services for more units that need to be repaired, c) to accurately estimate labor requirements, and d) to measure technician performance levels against validated baseline criteria for compensation or training purposes.

In addition, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) will use the time standards developed through this project in the development and implementation of their certification programs. Similarly, areas such as purchasing, cost accounting, control and process design are closely related to standards functions. To operate effectively, all of these areas depend on time standards and operational procedures.

XIII. TRB Keywords

Time standards, time study, work measurement, preventive maintenance


National Center for Transit Research · at the Center For Urban Transportation Research · University of South Florida · 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 · Tampa, FL 33620-5375 · (813) 974-3120 · (813) 974-5168 · · Comments: