The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is the transit agency charged with regional financial oversight, funding, and transit planning for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace bus and paratransit. Riders take more than two million trips each weekday on the RTA region’s transit system in six counties with 7,200 transit route miles throughout Northeastern Illinois.
The RTA recently released a Request for Proposal for new energy management software. So why did they ditch their spreadsheets?
Streamline Processes & Reduce Data Entry Costs
The “old” system involved staff in multiple departments entering the same data into multiple spreadsheets, and trying to maintain complex macros. They needed a way to streamline data entry and improve workflow efficiency. And they needed a way for personnel in different departments to view the same data at any time.
EnergyCAP software offered data entry and analysis options that were much more powerful and easier to maintain. A cloud-based interface will greatly facilitate information sharing across the enterprise.
Improve Audits & Bill Validation
The old system involved spreadsheet macros and “visual verification” that was little more than eyeballing data tables in hopes of catching data errors.
The new system provides automated audits that can be integrated into the workflow at the point bills are entered or at any other time during the bill processing cycle.
Enhance Tracking & Reporting
The old system didn’t allow the analysis team to “roll up” organization data at the account, facility, or agency level. Having one system to track all commodities including tracking vehicle diesel fuel and gasoline consumption by vehicle was on the wish list. The spreadsheets didn’t present data in a way that aided analysis, and it was difficult to produce meaningful reports relating to energy consumption or costs.
EnergyCAP can display organization energy data through two different user-configured hierarches that enable the users to look at, and report on, energy data from multiple perspectives. This approach makes it simple to provide actionable information to a variety of energy stakeholders from the facilities manager to the organization CFO or budget committee.
Simplify Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculations
The old system tried a spreadsheet solution for maintaining CO2 conversion variables, but there were too many steps involved, especially for benchmarking, trend reporting, and summary reporting at various agency levels.
Energy management software automatically calculates direct and indirect (Scope 1 and Scope 2) emissions from energy use data maintained in the energy database. Any commodity that can be measured can be tracked.
Integrate Energy Management & Financial Systems
The old system required passing energy data to several different financial systems, and the task was frustrating and time-consuming. What energy data that did filter down to the accounting level tended to be manually entered. Processes were inconsistent and inefficient. The lack of comprehensive data on consumption and cost created challenges for making meta-decisions.
The new system provides a central repository for comprehensive energy information from RTA's multiple departments and systems. An optional accounts payable interface offers additional workflow options for enhancing business efficiency.
To hear more about RTA's energy management programs, attend their presentation on "Excellence in Energy Management" at the August 2014 APTA Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop in Boston, MA.