Duty Scheduling

In the operational planning process, the connection between material- and personnel planning is made with duty scheduling. The existing timetable has to be covered by personnel and for this purpose a duty schedule needs to be created that accounts for aspects of social compatibility and economic factors. These somewhat contrary aims need to be reconciled to the greatest degree.
The Duty Schedule module provides comprehensive tools to schedule duties and evaluate duty schedules:

  • Graphic and tabular planning tools with intelligent user control and suggestion scheme
    Comprehensive settings options of rules and operational agreements and regulations
  • Statistics to evaluate economic indicators
  • Automated steps to speed up manual duty scheduling
  • Optimization for fully automatic generation of duty schedules
  • Customizable display options for driver, depot management, controlling, documentation etc.

mdv's Duty Schedule is a product that assists the quick and efficient creation and evaluation of duty schedules while allowing for individual operators to adapt the progamm to their specific needs.

mdv's Duty Schedule is a tool that quickly and efficiently creates and evaluates duty schedules. It can even be adapted to match the conditions of each individual operation. The following functional areas are included in the module:

  • Import of workload from timetable- and vehicle scheduling
  • Setting of legal and operational regulations
  • Duty editing (dividing duties, building reserve workloads)
  • Statistical analysis for controlling (duty schedule statistics, Dienstregister-Ansicht, camel curve)
  • Duty sequence scheduling (editing of roster structures, occupation of roster positions)
  • Generation of print outputs (duty schedule output, depot departure list etc.)
  • Train Planning

The Duty Schedule module provides user-friendly interfaces to make scheduling duties (~duty = block) in urban or regional locations more efficient. Moreover, through the various options to automize or use mathematical optimization processes, officials are supported in their work throughout the planning process:

  • The imitator uses existing duties from other projects or time periods for the current workload
  • The previous-/next search supports the building of individual duties
  • The duty schedule optimization uses mathematical optimization formulas to generate complete duty schedules
Selection of various editing windows in the 'Duty Schedule' module

Workload / Blocks

After releasing a timetable and vehicle schedule, the valid data (~blocks) are imprted to the Duty Schedule module.
During import, planners can decide whether to create a completely new duty schedule or build a new project onto an existing one. The workloads are then reimported or updated in the duty schedule module.
While importing workloads, the previously built duties are recreated. The duties are then automatically matched to the changed or new blocks according to the set imitation parameter.

The total workload can be augmented in the Duty Schedule module through customizable additional workloads, e.g. for special events etc.

Duty Schedule - View of workload group window with an overview of imported blocks

Legal and Operational Regulations

The module ensures that duty schedules undergo constant monitoring of the set parameters, which prevent inadvertent scheduling of faulty duties.
The parametrization of this duty scheduling parameter conforms to both legal and operationl requirements of the transport authority.

In addition, both simple and complex break rules can be defined and monitored by the program module.
Duty Schedule also provides the option to create parameters for overtime work (e.g. night overtime, etc.) and additional workloads (e.g. preperation times, finishing times, driver trip time, etc.) that can be automatically added to the duty schedule after specific formulas have been defined.
Additional working time and additional workloads can be be added manually to the suty schedule, if needed.

Common Data Duty Schedule - Entering the legal and operational check parameters concerning the duty schedule regulations

Duty Editing

Duties and the driving workloads can be managed according to depots and operating branches and provide duty schedulers with the options to customize their working environment to meet specific requirements.
In this way, duty calcuation can be optimally supported for various fares and different driver groups (~duty groups, depots).
Duties can be divided directly in the graphic. Duty schedulers are supported with the following automation functions:

  • The imitator automatically generates duty schedules based on previous ones .
  • Diverse copying functions enable copying of duties or groups of duties with their shift types, from other projectes and time periods.
  • the previous/next search supports schedulers create individual duties and assesses the existing alternatives.
  • During duty creation, the duty regulations are permanently monitored and the results of the check are displayed.
  • Automatic creation of additional work augments the duty elements (~jobs) that are added to the driver workload according to user-defined regulations.
  • Duty schedule optimization creates entire duty schedules (details below), can also be created from existing "partial-duty schedules".

Through the use of optimization and automation functions, an effective tool is now available to manage larger and more flexible databases.
In addition to the actual functionalities of duty scheduling, the planner also includes analytical tools. For example, using the function 'calculate duties' the minimum number of duties required can be estimated. Similarly the camel curve function is used to graphically display the workload to be covered and compare it with previously scheduled duties or with the shift type selection of a duty group.

Duty Schedule - Display of the sum of all blocks (workload) for a planning time period in the so-called 'camel curve'

Duty Schedule Optimization

Supplementary to the automation tools and to best support duty schedulers, mdv has developed an optimization module for the Duty Schedule. Its aim is to automate steps of the interactive planning and to constantly account for and safeguard particular optimization goals of the transport authority.

  • Automation of daily tasks
  • Improvments to compatibility
  • Cost accounting and controlling
  • Determination of savings potential

The control and use of the optimization module is fully integrated into the Duty Schedule. Special parameters can be customized and set to fit specific needs.
Importantly, both legally and operationally required regulations can be combined and used in optimization runs. The optimization processes determine the mathematically optimal number of duties and accounts for all parameter restrictions (~regulations), like

  • Scheduling the entire workload or
  • Scheduling a portion of the workload (e.g. only previously unscheduled block segments)
  • Absolute and percentage upper limits for the number of specific duty types (e.g. 'only 10% split duties')
  • Proximity to a defined average duty length
  • Maximum stay on a specific route

The optimization process involves characterization of the scheduled duties using a custom set evaluation function. This can include:

  • Number of duties (total)
  • Number of specific duty types (~shift positions)
  • Number of relief points in a duty
  • Location of breaks or splits
  • Minimum, maximum or average of figures for

    • Working hours
    • Active hours or
    • Unpaid hours

This strategy enables individual assessment per duty type (viewing 'split duties' seperately).
Results of the optimization processes are loaded into the Duty Schedule, displayed in a familiar setting and, if necessary, activated for further processing.
The duty schedule optimization module also provides the option to proportionally recalculate the duties of a optimization result, in order to use new or advanced parameters on a selected subset of duties.
The Duty Schedule module provides statisics for more advanced analysis of the optimization results, which allows comparison of prior duty schedules with current, automatically generated ones.

Duty Schedule - Dialog to statistically compare optimization results

Statistical Analysis

Even before dividing up duties the statistic module supports the planning process:

  • First estimation to calculate the number of required duties
  • Overview of required shift poitions by displaying the camel curve

The integrated statistics module includes the following information- and functional elements that judge the duty schedule based on criteria like efficiency and compatibility:

  • Display of different modi, like

    • Overview (~sum of all duites of an analysis group)
    • Detailed view (~all duties of an analysis group individually)
    • Deviations from duty regulations (~ min./max. working hours, max. duration, max. number of split duties)

  • Comparison of all scheduling time periods (~day types) displaying all key figures.
  • Comparison of all scheduling time periods for a single day, or accumulated, according to the validities on the base calendar
  • Display of efficiency and further indexes (e.g. workloads, working hours, driving time, additional work hours, aditional workloads, etc.) per scheduling time period.
  • Detailed view of statidtical units like depot, duty group, roster group, fare groups, etc.
Duty Schedule: Statistics in overview display

Roster Structuring

Roster structuring is the step of the planning process when finished, valid duties are combined into meaningful groups and display the planned sequence of duty shift positions and rest days (~days off) for the driver.
Specific attention is paid to compliance with sleep regulations (even during days off).
This policy requirement is controlled using the corresponding parameters and functions, which are constantly monitored. Violations, e.g. of the min. amount of sleep, are specially highlighted with signal colors in the program module.

Duty Schedule – View of the integrated roster structure manager to plan duty sequences

Print Outputs

The scheduled duties can be printed in a graphic or tabular layout. A combination of both layouts is also possible.
The layout of the standard duty schedule output can be adjusted for transport authorities and then further customized to fit the specific requirements of each user.

Duty Schedule - Sample view in layout 'Gnatt chart' of an amount of duties
Duty Schedule - Sample view in layout 'table' of an amount of duties
Duty Schedule - Sample view in layout 'Gnatt chart' of an amount of blocks (~workload)

Train Planning

The Duty Schedule module can also be used for train planning. When importing the total workload, cars belonging to the same block are identified and joined accordingly. They are then displayed in the Gnatt chart of duties with a double line underneath the duty segment.

In addition, special print outputs create the switching instructions when splitting or combining train blocks.

Duty Schedule - View of duty group window with display of traction (~train companies) as a doulbe line

Want more information?

Send us an email


or call us: +49 (0)89 416 68-0

Stuttgarter Straßenbahn AG Switches to DIVA

Article from mdv-news 2-2013

Case Study: DIVA 4 Operational Planning in Abu Dhabi