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CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Case Studies

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Safety and Enforcement Division had accumulated many spreadsheet and database systems to track inventories of rail crossing records, incident records, and many other records required to improve the safety and security of rail operations and transportation in the State of California. The proliferation of systems was gradual as new requirements for reporting and management of improvements changed over time. With gradual system changes also came the common adjustment to the meaning of data within organizations conducting business operations. As requirements began to incorporate the need for greater integration and collaboration across business lines, the differences in data and reporting caused difficulty in sharing data and record-keeping responsibilities due to data differences.

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Rail Safety and Security Information Management System (RSSIMS)

The Challenge

Several projects had been attempted to improve data definitions and internal systems grew in number to support required control agency reporting, as well as activity to evaluate, inspect, and analyze rail assets or incidents. The growing interdependency upon information in the disparate systems in use by field and office staff made the independent systems appear more as obstacles to consistent reporting, forcing individuals to spend many hours to compile reports or make appropriate recommendations. Furthermore, data requirements continued to increase and changes to some support systems became very time consuming. The CPUC solicited for a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solution to resolve their combination of challenges.

The Solution

Since no COTS solutions were available for this problem domain, Delegata worked with the CPUC to define a solution based on another flexible solution that allowed business users to change system functionality and results over time without the aid of technology staff. The solution allowed the CPUC to reuse the architecture to accommodate the required future flexibility, and to customize the specific ways that the system interacted with users to perform mission requirements. By reviewing the work processes and data requirements, the Rail Safety and Security Information Management System (RSSIMS) took shape as a system that could collect data in nearly twice as many record types as originally understood and ensure that business super users would be able to add new data or change the functionality on each record type to accommodate changes to operations based on the accommodating architecture.

Now, CPUC staff members capture data, generate reports across all record types, make decisions about changes to system capability and manage the business processes that have proven to make rail operations in the State of California more safe and secure – all within one integrated system.

The Results

The CPUC rail safety and enforcement operations collect information in one system that allows individual teams to capture appropriate data and information to facilitate results. Reports are generated in seconds rather than requiring external compilations that, at times, took days or weeks and often included significant uncertainty about completeness or accuracy. Formulas are built into the system to industry standards that allow calculations to prioritize upgrades to rail crossings to improve safety.