Nottingham City Transport (NCT) has equipped drivers with mobile data terminals to record their first use vehicle checks as part of the introduction of a real-time vehicle defect reporting system. The work is thanks to integration between software companies Freeway and Tranzaura.
Drivers use a Tranzaura vehicle inspection app on smartphones that have been configured purely as devices to run the app. The smartphone is touched against an in-cab electronic tag to identify the vehicle. The driver then presents their ID card to log in.
Drivers are guided by the app through a predefined procedure that ensures “complete and consistent data entry,” says Freeway. When submitted, defect reports can be accompanied by images.
In 2020, NCT transformed its engineering operation with the introduction of a new system from Freeway. Workshop staff were supplied with tablets as part of a paperless system that manages the maintenance and compliance of over 300 buses.
Says NCT Chief Engineer Liam O’Brien: “By linking Freeway and Tranzaura, we have a real-time insight into the condition of the fleet, allowing us to immediately identify and deal with critical defects.
“It closes the loop in the flow of digital data, giving us an end-to-end paperless and live system. This is exactly what we set out to achieve back in 2019.”
The link between the driver app and the workshop is two-way. The driver can see that engineers are aware of any defects.
Maintenance staff can then take immediate action, such as contacting the driver by radio for more information and deciding whether the vehicle should be removed from service.
Adds Mr O’Brien: “With the Tranzaura and Freeway integrated system, we are for the first time completely in the picture from the moment a driver completes their walk-round check. We can accurately assess the seriousness of defects and take immediate action if required. The chance of a vehicle leaving the depot in an unsafe condition is greatly reduced.”
Seamless incorporation of defect data from drivers is also beneficial for workshop activity scheduling. It delivers efficiency and productivity benefits as well as a safer operation, Mr O’Brien continues.