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Center Identification Number:  77707    


Project Title:  Transit Extraboard Management-Optimum Sizing and Strategies  


Principal Investigator:


Christopher P. DeAnnuntis
Phone: (813) 974-8942




Center for Urban Transportation Research

University of South Florida

Fax: 813-974-5168


External Project Contact:     


Liz Stutts
Florida Department of Transportation
Office of Public Transportation
Grants Program Administrator
(850) 414-4500


I.  Project Objective/Problem Statement

The objective of this project is to summarize the process, and develop a model application tool to aid small to mid-size transit agencies in managing their extraboard. The application tool is envisioned to work under an Excel environment to allow for easy data entry and model inputs. Additionally, the project will explore practices at the State and Agency level for operator work period rules and experiences.

While transit agencies attempt to employ sufficient regular bus operators to provide scheduled service, they also employ operators to cover work assignments that are temporarily unfilled because of vacations, illness or absences, as well as insufficient manpower, attrition (retirements, etc), or for work that is unassignable/open in the course of normal labor practices. Put simply, an extraboard bus operator is another name for a back up driver. Extraboard operations may be generally defined as the process of utilizing available manpower to perform work assignments in accordance with labor agreement provisions and work rules to ensure the provision of scheduled transit service. The challenge is to assign manpower to open scheduled work, ensuring scheduled service delivery with minimum cost. Significant cost savings can result from proper extraboard management.

Ineffective practices can increase payment of unscheduled premiums and for unproductive time. Four general parameters define extraboard management: available manpower; open work; labor agreement provisions, and work rules. For any given open work and given available manpower situation, there are normally several alternative decision paths. Such decisions are affected by two conditions: those established by prior actions of the transit system such as scheduling and work force planning; and those that change daily. Both have service delivery and/or financial implications. Opportunities exist to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of extraboard management. Current computerized methods (i.e. Trapeze, Hastus) primarily focused on making the process more efficient, can be building blocks to structure more effective decision making. Many small to medium size transit agencies do not have the automated scheduling or other tools available to assist in proper extraboard management.

The scope of this project will attempt to address the two fundamentals of sound extraboard management: 1) Sizing: develop a computer model/tool to be used to aid in calculating the optimum number of extraboard operators needed. This includes the optimum by time of day, day of week, and seasonally. 2) Strategies of filling work: transit agencies will be surveyed to identify current methods and practices in creating and managing the extraboard. Issues to be addressed include historical data (scheduled and unscheduled leave), labor rules, current tools/formulas used.

II.  Objectives/Tasks

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

Task 1. Literature Review

CUTR will conduct a literature review to identify methodologies and findings, if any, from past studies to serve as a starting point for the research. This will help refine specific gaps and deficiencies in the existing body of knowledge. If not available, the study will attempt to develop such a process. Further review of literature will continue throughout most of the research process to supplement any new findings.

Task 2. Survey Transit Agencies Regarding Current Practices of Extraboard Management

In this task, CUTR will survey small and mid-sized transit agencies to inquire of their strategies, policies, and procedures when assigning extraboard bus operators. An inventory of transit agencies contacted and their strategies, policies, and procedures will be presented. This inventory will include the name of the transit agency, peak and base vehicle requirement, number of bus operators, union affiliation if any, total weekday, and weekend revenue hours of service. The survey will attempt to gather data related to issues that effect extraboard management such as: union rules, overtime pay, part –time bus operators, vacations, and sick leave. CUTR anticipates conducting interviews with local transit agencies as well as one transit agency outside the state of Florida. CUTR has selected Citifare, a transit agency that is part of Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County, Nevada. Citifare in Reno, Nevada is contracted transit service and is believed to maintain accurate, detailed records regarding transit operations.
CUTR will collect and summarize data resulting in innovative techniques used by transit agencies to address extraboard assignments.

Task 3. Analyze Data Gathered from Literature Review and Survey

Findings from the literature review and surveys will be analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively to determine the manner in which the agencies currently manage and assign the extraboard. A report will be produced that will summarize the data gathered.

Task 4. Development and Testing of Model

CUTR, working with the USF College of Engineering, Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering will develop and test a computer model. The computer model will attempt to take the variables necessary in assigning extraboard bus operators and optimize the use of labor, and test the computer model in order to determine its practical application to extraboard assignment at transit agencies.

Task 5. Final Report and Model

The final task of the research will be to summarize the results of the previous tasks and to develop a computer model that will enable small and mid-sized transit agencies to plan, schedule, and optimize their extraboard.

Task 6. Federal, State Requirements, and Agency Work Rules for Bus Operator Work Periods

As part of the survey, CUTR will inquire as to what the federal and individual states requirements are related to bus operator work hours. CUTR, working with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Public Transportation (SCOPT) will develop a mailing list, and survey to determine how other states and transit systems monitor and control total days worked, on-duty hours, driving hours, and time reporting on and off duty each day.

III. Deliverables

Deliverables for this project will include the following:

Quarterly Progress Reports – These will be provided to FDOT Project Manager and Research Office. Reports will include the following sections:

1. Work done in quarter being reported
2. Work to be done in next quarter
3. Requested modifications to Scope, Budget, or Schedule, as appropriate
4. An updated schedule

Technical Memorandum 1 – Results of the literature review, survey and interviews will be summarized to provide a discussion of various issues to consider in optimizing extraboard management submitted after Task 3.

Technical Memorandum 2 – A computer model that transit agencies can utilize to optimize extraboard assignments will also be developed and submitted after Task 4.

Final Report – A Draft Final Report will be submitted for review. Upon approval, a Final Report will be submitted in printed (12 copies) and electronic format (Word). A project summary (in Word) will also be submitted with the Final Report, per FDOT format.

NOTE: All written deliverables will be submitted in electronic format to the Research Center for processing. Electronic reports will be e-mailed to Sandra Bell at Hard copies will be sent to the following address:

Sandra Bell, Research Contracts Administrator
Florida Department of Transportation
605 Suwannee Street, MS 30
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450


IV.  Project Schedule


2005         2006                  
RESEARCH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Task 1 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Literature Review     38% 72% 100%                    
Task 2 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Survey Transit Agencies Regarding Current Practices of Extraboard Management       2% 51% 69% 100%                
Task 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1
Analyse Data Gathered from Literature Review and Survey             0% 49% 100%            
Task 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1
Development and Testing of Model               0% 0% 47% 77% 100%      
Task 5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
Final Report and Model                       14% 43% 61% 100%
Task 6 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Federal, State Requirements, and Agency Work Rules for Bus Operator Work Periods     13% 44% 61%     100%              


V.  Project Budget


Transit Extraboard Management-Optimum Sizing

and Strategies

Budget Categories


Center Director Salary


Faculty Salaries

$ 42,838

Admin. Staff Salaries

$   3,500

Other Staff Salaries


Student Salaries

$   4,192

Staff Benefits

$ 22,191

Total Salaries and Benefits

$ 72,721



Permanent Equipment


Expendable Property/Supplies

$   2,131

Domestic Travel

$   6,100

Foreign Travel


Other Direct Costs


Total Direct Costs

$ 80,952

Indirect Costs

$   4,048

Total Costs

$ 85,000


Notes: This budget does not reflect any federal participation. 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 requests includes salaries for clerical and administrative staff, postage, telephone calls, office supplies, general purpose software, subscriptions, and/or memberships.


VI. Equipment

No equipment is envisioned to be purchased under this project.

VII. Travel


VIII. Implementation

This research project is intended as an application tool to the transit industry. As such, testing the computer model will be a key element and will take place at one transit agency in order to verify its relevance.

IX. Student Involvement

Graduate students will be used to acquire and input data as necessary and to assist in the production of the draft and final versions of the report.

X. Relationship to Other Research Projects

This project will draw on the experience and knowledge gained through discussions with representatives of transit agencies and other secondary research related to important issues in extraboard optimization and bus operator work rules.

XI. Technology Transfer Activities/Peer Review

The results of this analysis will be provided to the FDOT through a series of technical memorandum and a final report. The final report will be contained on the CUTR and NCTR web sites, with final reports to the FDOT, and USDOT Office of Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA).

XII. Potential Benefits of the Project

Transit agencies that do not have the resources to research the most efficient ways to optimize their extraboard requirement will have an automated tool that can assist them.

XIII. TRB Keywords

Extraboard, bus operator, transit operations, scheduling.


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: