The Digital Transformation of Metros study reviewed the strategies, initiatives, and technologies used by metros to implement digital transformation for four key purposes: safety improvement, station operations and management, train operations, and depot management. In recent years there have been several digital trends observed in metros, including provision of real-time train loading information, centralised station management, customer-facing staff equipped with tablets, installation of passenger counting equipment, etc. Metros’ long-term digital transformation plans typically involve multi-phase programmes with strong support from management, employee expertise, and partnership with external parties. Ultimately, digital transformation is highly related to transforming employees. Therefore the study summarised metros’ good practices to create a digital culture, as well as ways to remove barriers along the journey to digital transformation.
Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has joined the Nova group of metros. BMRCL constructs and operates the Namma Metro (which means ‘Our Metro’) which serves Bangalore, the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state and the third most populous city in the country.
The first part of the system opened in 2011, and Phase 1 was completed in 2017. The system now features 42.3km that is 80% elevated and 20% underground on two lines: Purple (east-west) and Green (north-south). There are 40 stations and an estimated approximately 130m annual passenger journeys. Phase 2 is now under construction, with sections expected to open between now and 2023 that extend both existing lines and add three new lines (with an additional 93km).
The Railway and Transport Strategy Centre (RTSC) at Imperial College London has a new name! In 2019, we became the Transport Strategy Centre (TSC) recognising the broad reach of our team’s work. The TSC works across public transport modes – metros, railways, buses and light rail, as well as airports.
For more information about the TSC and our work, please see our main website here.
Tokyo Metro has joined the CoMET group of metros. Their system is the oldest in Asia, dating to 1927 with the opening of the Ginza Line. Privatised in 2004, Tokyo Metro is owned by the national and metropolitan governments. The Tokyo Metro network is 195.1km with 179 stations on 9 lines and is renowned for its punctuality. Annual passenger journeys are estimated at more than 2.2 billion, making Tokyo Metro among the densest metros in the world.
Tokyo Metro’s first two lines, the 1927 Ginza Line and 1954 Marunouchi Line, operate on standard gauge track with third rail power and are independent. The rest of the network operates on narrow gauge (1067mm) like the mainline railway network in Japan, with overhead power and operate through services connecting to various suburban railways. We look forward to working with Tokyo Metro on benchmarking going forward.
Sydney Metro has joined the Nova group of metros. It is a new fully automated (GoA4) metro system being built in Sydney, Australia’s largest city. The first section, known as Sydney Metro Northwest, opened in May 2019 with a 4-minute peak headway. The initial segment features 23km and 8 stations newly built and the existing 13km, 5-station Epping to Chatswood rail link (which opened in 2009 and was operated by Sydney Trains until closing in September 2018 for metro conversion).
Currently passengers interchange onto Sydney Trains services at Epping and Chatswood to continue to central Sydney, but Sydney Metro City & Southwest is currently under construction and will extend the line a total of 31km, including a new tunnel under Sydney Harbour and the Central Business District and the takeover of another existing Sydney Trains line in the southwest area, scheduled for 2024.
Absenteeism presents widespread impacts of loss of productivity, delays and reduced morale that would affect metros’ efficiency and reliability. Currently CoMET and Nova have an average staff absenteeism rate of 4.7% (based on 2018 data), creating significant challenges for managing service provision. This study investigated levels of absenteeism at CoMET and Nova metros, identified and explored underlying causes of absenteeism, and discussed best practices to manage and/or reduce absenteeism. In discussing the factors that metros have identified that lead to absence, it is clear that absenteeism does not have one single cause and is influenced by multiple internal and external factors. It therefore requires a comprehensive set of solutions to manage and reduce.
Approaches and actions to manage and reduce absenteeism focus on measurement and management of absence data and positive approaches to employee relations. Initiatives within these categories help ensure that metros understand the scale of the issue across different organisational parameters (such as absenteeism rates by team) as well as developing an overall culture of care and trust between management and labour.
This study investigated which metros undertake employee engagement initiatives and the range of approaches used, and the initiatives metros have used to improve employee engagement. CoMET and Nova metros range in organisational size from around 1000 employees to over 40,000 in some cases. Highly engaged employees are likely to understand how the organisation works and is governed, understand the mission, values and behaviours of the metro and understand the organisational culture. Importantly, engagement is not the same as satisfaction (although this is one aspect of engagement).
The majority of CoMET and Nova metros measure employee engagement using a single methodology for all employees. The frequency of measuring employee engagement varied, with more frequent surveys allowing for targeted questioning, while less frequent surveys allow recognition of changes in organisational culture. A number of initiatives for employee engagement measurement and improvement were identified in this study that metros have deployed or are planning to deploy. These initiatives span communications between staff and with leadership, performance management and recognition programmes, working conditions and staff facilities, health and wellbeing, financial benefits and benefits-in-kind, events, and safety at work.
16 members of Nova and two members of CoMET met in Barcelona from 24th – 27th September 2019 for the Nova Phase 22 Management Meeting, hosted by Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona.
During the week, members heard presentations from across the CoMET and Nova Key Performance Indicators Balanced Scorecard, as well as study presentations on Reliability of Signalling Equipment, Modern Maintenance Practices and Energy Saving Strategies. Members also exchanged their latest activities, challenges and initiatives during meeting sessions.
The annual Management Meeting is where the upcoming Nova work programme is determined by the members. The next phase’s work programme will consist of three studies on the topics of preventative actions to avoid human-related failures in train operation and in the Operational Control Centre (OCC), innovations to reduce track time to do capital and maintenance works, and customer experience in stations.
Members also had the opportunity to use TMB’s metro network extensively, and visited Line 10’s ZAL depot to learn about how TMB carries out engineering and maintenance.
All metros must carry out work to enable continued operations and to ensure safety and reliability. These works include not only routine maintenance (which occurs on an ongoing basis) but also periodic work to renew, upgrade, or even replace assets. While every effort is made to conduct these works outside of revenue service hours (during the few overnight engineering hours that most metros have), the volume and scale of some works ultimately require more extensive closures that impact revenue service. This study investigated how metros design work plans, manage and govern track access, and communicate work to customers.
Approximately half of responding metros allow work to impact revenue service, and with increasing demand and ageing infrastructure this seems likely to increase in the future. In general, metros are using three key criteria to determine whether a project should be allowed to affect revenue service: whether the disruption is unavoidable, how urgent the work is, and whether alternative transport can cope with the added demand. In terms of service design during work, selecting the right service strategy is not straightforward. Metros need to balance the impacts of different approaches on operations (e.g. resource needs), maintenance, customer service, and revenues. Finally, in terms of communicating service information, social media is a primary form of communication with customers now, but a mix of channels is still needed to ensure that metros’ diverse audiences are reached.
The Nova metro benchmarking group convened in Vancouver, Canada for the Phase 21 Annual Meeting. British Columbia Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC) welcomed 13 metros from around the world from 13th-16th May, including Mexico City STC visiting from Nova’s sister group CoMET. Members were welcomed to the meeting by Kevin Desmond, CEO of BCRTC’s parent organisation TransLink, and Haydn Acheson, CEO at BCRTC.
On Monday 13th May, the North American members of Nova convened to discuss issues of critical importance in the region, notably equity and outreach initiatives, automation and experiences with Public Private Partnerships (PPPs or P3s), and maintenance organisational structures.
The full international group convened from 14th-16th May to hear the latest benchmarking information from the Transport Strategy Centre (TSC) at Imperial College London and to participate in peer-to-peer discussion. Studies presented at the meeting by the TSC included Passenger Incident Management, Managing and Reducing Absenteeism, Employee Engagement, and Planning and Scheduling Works Affecting Revenue Service, as well as a Key Performance Indicators and Safety Performance Indicators presentation. Members also discussed topics of strategic importance to metros, such as future revenue streams and managing passenger flow.
BCRTC’s SkyTrain system is a fully driverless network and Nova benchmarking incorporates data from the Expo and Millennium Lines.