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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article3 November 20211 min read

Study on good staff scheduling and rostering practices in transport

A new publication has been shared by the European Commission on improving work-life balance in the transport sector.

The study identifies good staff scheduling and rostering practices in the transport sector and makes practical recommendations on how staff and shift scheduling systems can be improved to respond to the needs of a diverse transport workforce, notably in terms of improving their work-life balance. The recommendations also cater for employers’ needs to ensure operational continuity. Whilst the study acknowledges the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it does not specifically focus on how this affected rosters and staff scheduling. The methodology for the study included literature reviews, stakeholder interviews and surveys of social partners, companies and workers.

The study develops a typology of different sources of staff scheduling and rostering practice. These can be divided into four types:

  • based on social dialogue, collective agreements and co-determination;
  • driven by collective agreements at a range of levels;
  • state-centred with influence of collective agreements;
  • with little influence of collective bargaining, but some company-level worker representation and participation.

Within this framework, the study collected details of 41 existing practices and clustered them according to specific practice type. Following critical appraisal of these practices, eight systems were selected as good practice, based on their sustainability, scalability and transferability.

In this process, the following observations were made:

  • Better work-life balance has emerged as a key topic across all transport modes and can be addressed by different practice types.
  • In terms of making jobs more attractive, transport companies across nearly all transport modes face significant recruitment problems, particularly in relation to mobile staff.
  • Business and operation-driven improvements in rostering and staff scheduling are often introduced in conjunction with IT tools and staffing or rostering software. Companies that have been confronted with high levels of competition in the past have already tried to increase productivity and efficiency by optimising staff scheduling and rostering practices.

From the lessons learnt from these practices, the study makes a number of practical recommendations to the European Commission, EU-level social partners, national governments, national social partners, employers and employers’ organisations and workers, and workers’ representatives on how to improve current arrangements in order to benefit companies and improve the work-life balance of workers.

To view the final publication see here. Stakeholders are welcome to use the slides to disseminate the study results and the good practices.



Publication date
3 November 2021
  • Urban mobility planning
  • Europe-wide