Automated crew management solution keeps trains running

East Coast-based railroad CSX Transportation (CSXT) (www.csx.com) is using a speech-enabled crew management application that provides train conductors with job assignments while complying with union agreements and optimizing dispatch resources. The solution, powered by the Omvia platform developed by Intervoice Inc. (www.intervoice.com), tracks such informa-tion as unit trains of coal to truckloads of parcels on flatcars.

Because train and engine employees are union, select dispatcher assignments are available based upon seniority. Twenty different union agreements provide rules that need to be followed regarding job assignments, which are dependent on which union employees are members.

Before CSXT adopted the speech-enabled system, all train and engine employees had to speak with a crew dispatcher to request a change from one assignment or job to another. The new system, however, incorporates all of the agreements and their respective rules, resulting in a self-service application that currently handles up to 1,000 seniority moves a day.

“We wanted to have an automated crew calling system that would allow the day-to-day processes to be handled by a computer system,” says Tim Male, CSXT's assistant vice president of crew management. “Before we had this application, when an employee would call in and work through the crew dispatcher to make a seniority move, it was taking an average of 10 minutes. Currently, the process is taking an average of two minutes and 35 seconds per move, reducing average call durations by 74%.”

Train and engine employees can now call into the speech-enabled system and dictate to the system what kind of job they are looking for and the system tells them what jobs are available; then they select the job. The process is entirely automated, using speech recognition technology. LT

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