Train Service Performance Modelling
Client: SRA/Department for Transport, Feb-Jul 2005
Train punctuality in Britain is a high-profile issue politically. Unfortunately, following the Hatfield accident of 2000, performance levels were particularly poor, although they gradually rose to more acceptable levels during the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA)'s existence. With Network Rail taking responsibility for detailed day-to-day issues under the Railways Act 2005, though, the Government family wanted to investigate ways of retaining some understanding of the factors which underlie rail performance.
The Railway Consultancy was therefore commissioned, as sub-consultants to Frontier Economics, to advise on the possibility of using existing railway performance statistics from the TRUST system to provide high-level guidance on policy options. Following a brainstorm of possible influencing factors, data was obtained from the SRA covering the period 2001-4. This enabled Frontier to carry out regression analyses of potentially-explanatory variables against the number of delays, number of trains delayed, and total delay minutes. Our roles in the project were in terms of interpreting the data, advising of known biases, and ensuring that statistical conclusions were plausible in railway operating terms.
The project examined, by way of case studies, the impacts on performance of delays caused by rolling stock, drivers, network congestion and station overcrowding. In all cases, statistically-significant relationships were found against at least one of the measures of delay. The work gave confidence to the Department for Transport that such a statistical approach was indeed capable of providing answers about the impact on railway performance of key policy questions.
Last updated: Sunday, 18th December 2016
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