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Task Analysis Writeup

Task Analysis

We have analyzed the key tasks in the system in the accompanying Task Analysis Chart. These tasks were chosen as they represent either the most time consuming tasks, or the tasks that were most important in the functioning of the system.

The first task identified, checking the parking permit, involves a series of actions on the part of the Parking Control Officer (PCO). The task itself is complicated because of issues dealing with the visibility of the tag, visibility of the Electronic Ticket Writer (ETW), accessibility of the ETW, and possible environmental conditions. To enter the numbers into the system, the PCO must:
  • Identify the numbers on the parking tag
  • Remember as many as possible
  • Shift attention to the ETW
  • Recall as many numbers as possible
  • Enter the numbers as he or she recalls
  • Continue this process untill all numbers are entered.

This process causes the PCO to visually focus on three locations:
  • Parking tag
  • ETW display
  • ETW keys

Each of these locations also present their own difficulties. The tag could be obscured by other items or located in a difficult to see location, the ETW display is difficult to see in many lighting conditions, and the keys have poor contrast and are not backlit which makes them difficult to identify at night. These factors were commonly cited by PCOs as reasons they often enter the wrong tag number in their system. Errors are so common that the system itself requires information to be entered twice for verification purposes. The process of inputting the tag number is an excellent starting point for improving the system. The parking tag and the ETW could be redesigned to greatly improve accuracy and speed.

The same difficulties exist for the license plate, though visibility of the plates is often less of an issue. Entering the citation in the system requires a combination of the above two tasks as well as entering additional information that the PCOs either recall from memory (such as the location) or distill from the task (such as the reason why the citation is being issued).

Improving the car inspection tasks would provide the most benefit, as they are the most commonly performed tasks in the system. Each car should be checked against the system, but only a few cars are in violation of the rules and policies. Being able to dismiss a car as being in accordance with the rules faster would allow the checking of a larger number of vehicles. Improving the accuracy of the system would also improve customer service, which was identified by the client as one of the main concerns of the Parking Office.

The final two tasks do not involve the ETW at all. Booting the car is a physically demanding task, especially so in bad weather. The PCOs must take special care to avoid damaging the car in any way, but must also maneuver a heavy piece of equipment around one of the wheels of the car. The PCO must also ensure that the device is secured properly to ensure the devices are not stolen or dismantled.

The PCO must also document booting or towing in the case that the violator disputes any of the charges or accuses the PCOs of damaging their vehicle. Information about the car and the infraction is written on a standard form the PCOs carry with them at all times. This form is usually left in the vehicle the PCO is using at the moment.

Last modified 21 November 2004 at 11:10 pm by Jaroslav Tyman