Research: Employee Engagement

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.

Posted in Community of Metros Research, Uncategorized

Community of Metros News: Nova Phase 22 Management Meeting in Barcelona

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.

Posted in Community of Metros News, Meetings, Uncategorized

Research: Planning and Scheduling Work Affecting Revenue Service

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.

Posted in Community of Metros Research, Uncategorized

Community of Metros News: Nova Phase 21 Annual Meeting in Vancouver

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.

Posted in Community of Metros News, Meetings

Community of Metros News: OC Transpo Joins

OC Transpo in Ottawa, Canada has joined the Nova group of metros as part of the North American Sub-Group. OC Transpo (the Ottawa-Carleton Transportation Commission) is the public transport provider for Ottawa, which is Canada’s capital and 4th largest city. OC Transpo is known for having an extensive busway network constructed and opened in the 1980s and 1990s. This network reached capacity in the early 2000s and is now being partly replaced by a new light metro line. At a city-wide level, public transport carries 22% of all morning peak travel in the city.

Source: OC Transpo

O-Train Line 1 (the Confederation Line) has 13 stations along a 12.5-km grade separated corridor that includes 3 underground stations in a 2.5-km tunnel through the city centre. The line will operate 100m-long trains at 3-min peak headways using ATO. Construction is beginning on extensions at both ends of the line that will add 27.5km and 16 stations by 2025.

Rapid route network map

Source: OC Transpo

Posted in Community of Metros News

Community of Metros News: CoMET 2019 Management Meeting in Madrid

The CoMET group convened in Madrid for the first meeting of the year. The CoMET 2019 Management Meeting welcomed all 17 members of CoMET for the first time since 2016. The group also welcomed metros visiting from Nova – Metropolitano de Lisboa, San Francisco BART, and Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona – and Tokyo Metro as observers to the meeting. Members were welcomed to the meeting by Borja Carabante, Chief Executive Officer at Metro de Madrid, and Rosalía Gonzales López, President of the Board of Directors of Metro de Madrid and the Regional Minister of Transport, Housing and Infrastructure. 

The group was particularly honoured to share in Metro de Madrid’s 100th Anniversary celebrations, taking place throughout 2019. During the meeting, members had the opportunity to learn about the history of Metro de Madrid through visits to Chamberi station museum, where a variety of restored trains and artefacts are on display, and Chamartín station, which is a good example of historical station design. Members also learned about Metro de Madrid’s “Estación 4.0” where new innovations for the metro are tested.

Members also exchanged their latest activities, challenges and initiatives during meeting sessions, as well as focusing on preparations and lessons learned from major events. The RTSC presented latest benchmarking results from studies such as Energy Saving Strategies, Escalator Management (Availability, Assets and Safety), and Metro Security, as well as exploring key performance indicators focusing on key areas of metro operations and management.

The annual Management Meeting is where the upcoming CoMET work programme is determined by the members. After voting on 36 potential topics for study in 2019, the group agreed on four studies for 2019 – a large study focusing on station staffing models, real-time travel information, and focused studies on best practices using signage in stations and trains, and digital transformation of metros. The studies will be carried out by the Railway and Transport Strategy Centre (RTSC) at Imperial College London over the next year.

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Research: Modern Maintenance Practices

Technological advances have created the opportunity to transform maintenance practices to develop cost-efficient infrastructure management and improved system performance with regard to safety and reliability. To consider balance between preventive and corrective maintenance for managing track, switches and crossings, and civil structures, the study looked into what the optimal balance should be. Incorporating flexibility and slack into maintenance plans and focusing on dealing with the constraints of staff scheduling and limited track access, are strategies to increase the proportion of preventive works.

By analysing time-use during track access, the study identified major causal factors for lost time during possession to be travel and preparation. Therefore the strategies used by metros to reduce lost time were outlined in the study. The study also looked at key factors that influence maintenance costs, as well as examined metros’ outsourcing strategies.

Automation was seen to reduce the volume of labour necessary, particularly in labour intensive activities such as on-foot inspections. Three main areas of future maintenance practices with potential were identified: better data, improved maintenance practices, and renewals. Good practices in these areas were listed as examples in the report.

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Research: Metro Security

Trends concerning crime were found to be highly regionalised both for types of crimes committed (against person, property etc.) and evolution. Over the period from 2012 to 2017, the rate of crimes across CoMET and Nova metros is decreasing for 65%, with the largest decreases occurring primarily at Asian metros that already have very low crime levels.

(Am – American Metro, As – Asian Metro, Eu – European Metro)

Patrols and CCTV are ubiquitous means of surveillance though they have different secondary benefits. Nearly all metros reported that security staff are multifunctional and can respond to customer queries as well as providing crowd control and passenger assistance. This is also typically complemented by station staff notifying security of issues and monitoring CCTV.

Technological advances were identified as key drivers of change within metro security both to inform strategies and to monitor crime. The key areas where advanced technology for security are developing include passenger screening, smart cameras, the use of apps, and the provision of enhanced infrastructure (such as 5G networks).

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Research: Passenger Incident Management

On average for CoMET and Nova metros, passengers contribute to 17% of all incidents causing delays of five minutes or more.  The causes of passenger incidents range from suicide, vandalism, passenger taking ill, etc. The breakdown of passenger related incidents by cause and by delay threshold shows although the frequency of suicides is very low, those incidents take the longest to resolve.

As well as detailed benchmarking of the passenger-related causes and impacts of incidents at metros, the case study outlined metros’ best practices in  passenger incident management, including a data-driven approach in analysing passenger incident impacts, effective incident response by a clear chain of command, high levels of coordination with the emergency services, clear and consistent communications and procedures, appropriate staffing models and regular training with a focus on learning from past incidents.

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Research: Optimisation of Train Availability

In 2017, the average peak hour train availability was 88% for all CoMET and Nova members. Main causes of train unavailability were planned preventive maintenance, unplanned corrective maintenance, refurbishments and major damages. The biggest constraint to train availability is related to train reliability issues, specifically train failures occurring outside of peak hours which cannot be repaired in time.

The study foucused on the four maintenance and operational approaches that are utilised by metros to optimise train availability: allocation of train maintenance, outsourcing train maintenance, flexibility in operations, and introduction of remote condition monitoring.

Metros’ biggest successes or their future plans in terms of improving train availability are related to optimisation of maintenance work to improve reliability, train refurbishment plans, and introduction of remote condition monitoring on trains.

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