TABLE OF CONTENTS<br /> TOC o "1-2" h z t "Subtitle,3" OVERVIEW PAGEREF _Toc261893084 h 2<br />SURVEY RESULTS PAGEREF _Toc261893085 h 2<br />EAST AND WEST SHUTTLE RESULTS PAGEREF _Toc261893086 h 2<br />Figure 1: East Shuttle Usage PAGEREF _Toc261893087 h 3<br />Figure 2: West Shuttle Usage PAGEREF _Toc261893088 h 3<br />Figure 3: East Shuttle Arrivals PAGEREF _Toc261893089 h 4<br />Figure 4: West Shuttle Arrivals PAGEREF _Toc261893090 h 4<br />SHUTTLE SYSTEM OVERALL PAGEREF _Toc261893091 h 6<br />Figure 5: Overall Shuttle System Complaints PAGEREF _Toc261893092 h 6<br />Figure 6: Shuttle “on-call” Operation Awareness PAGEREF _Toc261893093 h 7<br />Figure 7: Substitution of CDTA for RPI Shuttles PAGEREF _Toc261893094 h 7<br />SHUTTLE TRACKING SYSTEM PAGEREF _Toc261893095 h 8<br />Figure 8: Online Shuttle Tracking Website Awareness PAGEREF _Toc261893096 h 8<br />Figure 9: Personal Usage of the Online Shuttle Tracker PAGEREF _Toc261893097 h 8<br />Figure 9: Frequency of Shuttle Tracking Website Usage PAGEREF _Toc261893098 h 9<br />Figure 10: Believed Accuracy of Shuttle Tracking Website PAGEREF _Toc261893099 h 9<br />DATA COLLECTION PAGEREF _Toc261893100 h 10<br />RECOMMENDATIONS PAGEREF _Toc261893101 h 11<br />Figure 11: Screenshot from shuttles.rpi.edu PAGEREF _Toc261893102 h 11<br />APPENDIX I.1: Control Charts PAGEREF _Toc261893103 h 13<br />APPENDIX I.2: Timed Shuttle Data PAGEREF _Toc261893104 h 15<br />APPENDIX I.3: Pareto Chart for Question #31 PAGEREF _Toc261893105 h 16<br />OVERVIEW<br />The four of us were enrolled in DSES 4230 – Quality Control this semester (Spring 2010). As a final project for the course, we were given the task of forming a team, getting “practical experience from conceiving and executing a quality improvement project,” and developing a final report for the class, as well as our client. The focus of this final project was very open: “Pick an aspect of RPI.” We know that the RPI Shuttle System is an important aspect of quality student life at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Because of the great value of this system, we decided that we wanted to team with the Transportation and Parking Services Office to improve the overall quality and student satisfaction with the Shuttle System at RPI.<br />The Shuttle System at RPI is currently divided into two routes: East and West. Each route operates daily on Monday through Friday from 7am – 11pm. The student union is a primary checkpoint for both shuttle routes. The East route has approximately 5 shuttles running daily, and the West route has approximately 3 shuttles. Shuttles also operate on an “on-call” basis during breaks (i.e. Spring Break in March), and for select special events on some weekends (i.e. Troy Night Out, Hockey games, etc.).<br />SURVEY RESULTS<br />In order to gauge the current satisfaction of student shuttle-users, we developed an extensive, 31-question survey, which asked specific questions about ridership on the East and West routes, opinions of the Shuttle System overall, and knowledge of the online Shuttle Tracking System. RPI students were invited to participate in the online survey through a Facebook group, and an astounding 175 individuals took the survey in a ten-day timeframe. (It should be noted, that while surveys of this nature are most definitely instrumental in improving quality, they do also tend to limit the number of positive responses. In general, an unsatisfied customer is far more likely to participate in a survey than a satisfied customer.) We have noted here results of the survey that we find most pertinent to the improvement of the Shuttle System. The complete results of this survey can be found in Appendix III, and a soft-copy (Excel format) can be provided, upon request.<br />EAST AND WEST SHUTTLE RESULTS<br />Complete graphs of these results are shown in Appendix II, but the ones that we believe require immediate attention are given below.<br />Question One: On average, how many times do you ride the East Shuttle per week (one way)?<br />Figure 1: East Shuttle Usage<br />
SHUTTLE SYSTEM OVERALL<br />Figure 5: Overall Shuttle System Complaints<br />Figure 5 shows responses to the final question of our survey (Question #31), which asks “In your opinion, what would make the RPI Shuttle System better OVERALL?” Out of 175 responses, 81 of them in some way involved the timing of the shuttles. Because of this overwhelming response which accounts for 44% of the survey takers, our primary focus in our recommendations will be to address this issue. A second graph (Pareto Chart) of these results is shown in Appendix I.3.<br />Question #28 asked about student awareness of the operation of the shuttles on an “on-call” basis during Spring Break 2010. Out of 175 responses, 140 of them said that they were not aware of this. That’s an incredible 80% (see Figure 6, next page).<br />Question #19 asked whether students have ever taken the CDTA instead of the RPI Shuttle. About 60% of the responses said “yes,” with reasons ranging from the CDTA arriving before the RPI shuttle, to their beliefs that the CDTA is faster (see Figure 7, next page)<br />Figure 6: Shuttle “on-call” Operation Awareness<br />Question Nineteen: Do you, or have you ever, taken the CDTA instead of the RPI Shuttle?<br />
Reasons yes = Arrived before RPI shuttle, stops closer to destination, faster, available on weekends/after 11 PM.
Figure 7: Substitution of CDTA for RPI Shuttles<br />SHUTTLE TRACKING SYSTEM<br />Figure 8: Online Shuttle Tracking Website Awareness<br />Question Twenty: Are you aware that you can track the shuttles online?<br />
DATA COLLECTION<br />With the help of Mr. Jason Jones, Operations Supervisor for RPI Parking and Transportation Services, we were able to compile data from two weeks of the shuttle sheets, filled out by the shuttle drivers. We found this data immensely helpful, and, when analyzed statistically, we discovered that the number of riders is “in control.” From this data, we eliminated the concept that the particular route or particular shuttle bus cause any problems in the Shuttle System. (Due to the confidentiality of these shuttle sheets, they have been shredded and recycled, as per the instruction of Mr. Jones). The corresponding control charts for this data are shown in Appendix I.1.<br />In addition to the information provided by Mr. Jones, the results of our student survey helped us to identify the main improvements needed in the current Shuttle System. In conjunction with this survey, we decided to use the Shuttle Tracker website to aid us in taking some time measurements of the shuttles. The results of this data collection are shown in Appendix I.2. From this data, we found that the longest it took a shuttle to make it completely through the East Route was 19 minutes, 35 seconds, and the longest through the West Route was 13 minutes, 32 seconds. We then came to the conclusion that the East Route can be completed in a maximum of 20 minutes, and the West Route can be completed in a maximum of 15 minutes.<br />RECOMMENDATIONS<br />
The shuttle system is very valuable; however, many students do not know about the variety of services that are offered.
Get a link for the Shuttle Tracking System on RPInfo
Screen in the Union with the Shuttle Tracking System constantly up
Change the color of the shuttles on the Shuttle Tracker website (shuttles.rpi.edu).
The shuttles are currently a green color on the Shuttle Tracker website, which makes them extremely difficult to see at first glance (see Figure 11). The green tends to be overwhelmed by trees and fields, so we suggest choosing either a bright yellow or bright orange color to use for the shuttle color, instead.
Figure 11: Screenshot from shuttles.rpi.edu<br />
Slightly alter the current continuous shuttle driving
Stagger shuttle departures in the morning on each route: shuttles will depart 6 minutes after one another
Shuttles will return to the union at set time intervals from their departure times: 15 minutes for West route and 20 minutes for East route
The first West shuttle leaves at 7am. The second one leaves at 7:06am, and the third leaves at 7:12am.
The West shuttles will go about their route, and when they return to the Union, the first one must wait until 7:15am, the second at 7:21am, and the third at 7:27am.
Similarly, the first East shuttle leaves at 7am. The second one leaves at 7:06am, the third leaves at 7:12am, the fourth leaves at 7:18am, and the fifth leaves at 7:24am.
The East shuttles will go about their route, and then return to the Union, the first departing again at 7:20am, the second at 7:26am, the third at 7:32am, the fourth at 7:38am, and the fifth at 7:44am.
Shuttles will continue in this matter throughout the day, continuing the trend after breaks.
Because of this system, the most anyone should have to wait for a shuttle is 6 minutes.
Shuttles will be more highly utilized, and there will no longer be completely empty shuttles driving around the route.
APPENDIX I.1: Control Charts<br />In the I-MR Chart for the East Route (shown here), the cycle times are fairly consistent and in-control. Thus our recommendations are valid for the allotted cycle times.<br />In the I-MR Chart for the West Route, the cycle times are fairly consistent and in-control. Thus our recommendations are valid for the allotted cycle times.<br />In the Standardized Xbar-R Chart, the number of passengers is in-control throughout the week on the East Route. Therefore, we do not need to worry about the daily number of passengers negatively impacting the shuttle system from one day to the next. <br />In the Standardized Xbar-R Chart, the number of passengers is in-control throughout the week on the West Route. Therefore, we do not need to worry about the daily number of passengers negatively impacting the shuttle system from one day to the next. <br />APPENDIX I.2: Timed Shuttle Data<br />Time Cycle (mins) (seconds) Bus # 0:18:28 1108 85 0:16:58 1018 85 Time Cycle (mins) (seconds) Bus # 0:10:56 656 93 0:12:00 720 93 Time Cycle (mins) (seconds) Bus # 0:15:32 932 95 0:19:35 1175 97 Time Cycle (mins) (seconds) Bus # 0:11:43 703 93 0:12:32 752 93 Time Cycle (mins) (seconds) Bus # 0:18:36 1116 85 0:17:55 1075 85 Time Cycle (mins) (seconds) Bus # 0:11:06 666 93 0:11:12 672 93 Time Cycle (mins) (seconds) Bus # 0:14:40 880 91 0:16:10 970 91 Time Cycle (mins) (seconds) Bus # 0:12:26 746 93 0:11:34 694 93 Time Cycle (mins) (seconds) Bus # 0:14:35 875 94 0:13:22 802 94 Time cycle (mins) (seconds) Bus # 0:13:32 812 97 0:10:52 652 97 <br />APPENDIX I.3: Pareto Chart for Question #31<br />1 = Doesn't Run on Weekends<br />2 = More Stops / Different Routes<br />3 = Set Time Schedule / Better Timing / Less Clumping of Shuttles / Shorter Wait Times<br />4 = More Shuttles<br />5 = Expanded Hours (evenings, 24/7 on-call, etc.)<br />6 = More Information / More Advertising<br />7 = Better Tracking System / Mobile Phone Tracking<br />8 = Better Quality Buses (different sizes, more seating, etc.) <br />