Metro train service analysis
Client: CoMET and NOVA Metro Groups, 1997 - ongoing
Many of today’s urban railways are congested. Either capacity has been reduced in order to save costs, or demand has risen from a combination of improved services and external factors (such as GDP growth). Problems with funding and fares are also widespread. These common issues led to the development of benchmarking groups facilitated by RTSC at Imperial College London in 1995, groups which include the CoMET and Nova metro groups and the ISBeRG group for suburban railways. The Railway Consultancy has been pleased to be able to support these groups over the years with a program of technical analysis, both through the comparison of Key Performance Indicators and through more detailed case studies.
Understanding exactly what are the underlying causes of train service unreliability requires specialist expertise, which The Railway Consultancy Ltd has developed over the years through a range of studies with the benchmarking groups. Analysis of station stop times and inter-station running times can highlight various detailed reasons why punctuality is suffering - for instance, station stop times may be inadequate for the numbers of passengers boarding and alighting. Passenger movement times also vary with station conditions and types of passengers, and these too need to be understood. Comparison of surveys from the RTSC/Consultancy's database enables additional inferences to be drawn, from which recommendations can be made about management actions.
A major case study into train service planning and crowding issues was carried out for the CoMET group of larger metros during 2007. This included examination of the definitions and levels of crowding, the standards and processes used in planning train services, and solutions to a range of crowding issues in trains and stations, covering rolling stock design, line capacity and station management techniques.
Subsequent case studies have concentrated on issues such as operations at station stops, station staffing, and turnround times at termini. As railways approach their capacity, service performance often falls unless considerable attention is paid to operational detail. This is all the more important where contractual arrangements exist between train operators and infrastructure providers.
More details about the benchmarking groups can be found at cometandnova.org and www.isberg-web.org respectively. Continuing research has led to the publication of a number of academic papers, which are available on request.
Last updated: Sunday, 18th December 2016
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