Constraints are a tool to help tell the Auto Scheduler about rules to follow for putting together a schedule. Rules can be helpful to make sure that the computer doesn’t put trips that technially could be done, but should not for reasons like funder or geographic restrictions.
To configure constraints, open the route assignments screen, and click on a row representing a route. In the lower left corner, you will see the Constraints Button.
When you click the constraints button, an window will appear allowing you to configure the constraints for that route. There are several categories of constraints that can be configured.
By default a route has no constraints. Once a a constraint is selected for a category, only trips meeting those constraints will be scheduled to that route by the computer. You can select constraints in multiple categories, and multiple values for each category. The more constraints assigned, the more restricted the computer will be in finding a route to schedule trips.
Provider constraints restrict trips to the provider selected.
Funder constraints restrict trips to the funder selected.
The custom constraints allows you to constrain based on available values in DB List #4
Vehicle Type constraint restricts trips to clients with a specific vehicle type selected. Most clients could technically ride more than one vehicle type, so use this constraint with caution as it is easy to be too restrictive.
Stop Site constraints allow you to geographically restrict a vehicle so only trips with Pick Up and Drop Off sites in the list of selected sites will be scheduled to the route. The button labeled “All Sites with same Zone” is helpful to select groups of sites in the same zone all at once. If the button is pressed, then clicking on a site will check or un check all the sites in that zone.
Walkons work a little differently, this contraint controls which Walk On category shows up on a drivers manifest under the Walk Ons tab for fixed route systems.
A good practice for setting constraints is to first, schedule your group trips to the schedule board, then use the batch scheduler to see where it puts trips. Examine the trips for any trips that obviously shouldn’t be on the routes the computer assigns. Next, add constraints to prevent the computer from assigning to those routes, move the trips up the the pool and re-batch the trips. Repeat until you are confident that the computer has enough constraints to keep it from making bad scheduling decisions.
Setting up constraints the first time can be time consuming. Fortunately, after constraints are set, you can easily copy those constraints to future day schedules via the Route Parameter Replication feature.