Community of Metros News: Nova Phase 20 Management Meeting in Oslo

The Nova Phase 20 Management Meeting was held from 19th – 22nd September 2017, attended by 15 members and observed by Stockholm MTR. The meeting was held in Oslo, hosted by Oslo Sporveien, who joined the Community of Metros in 2014.

During the visit, members were able to see some of Oslo Sporveien’s facilities first-hand. These included visits to Løren, Ullevål, Majorstuen and Tøyen Stations, as well as Sporveien’s Metro Control Room, and Driving Simulator. Members were also shown Sporveien’s innovative train passenger counting system.

During the meeting, members presented an update focusing on recent developments, challenges and good practices implemented. The Railway and Transport Strategy Centre (RTSC) presented the 2016 Key Performance Indicator results, focusing on host metro Oslo Sporveien, and the Safety Performance Indicators results. Three research projects were also presented by the RTSC team, on Cybersecurity and Accessibility Training, as well as a session on Measuring the Customer Experience Using Big Data, which presented the RTSC’s initial insights into the use of big datasets. Members also selected the case studies and work programme for Nova Phase 20.

Research: Cybersecurity

The study defined in broad terms what cybersecurity means to CoMET and Nova metros from an industry perspective. Operational Technology (OT) was prioritised above Information Technology (IT) since the latter is not metro-specific and is more advanced, whereas metro OT systems’ rapid evolution has not been matched by suppliers or regulators.

A metro’s Cybersecurity Risk Profile combines three categories: background threats, connectivity and automation. The study found that high background threats are associated with the most active mitigation measures against cyberattacks, but metros with a high level of connectivity will feature a large risk profile even in a benign political environment. Automation increases the potential impact of cyber-attacks as both physical and non-physical actions may be carried out by a successful hacker.

Ultimately, the study findings concluded that metros, as a key public-facing industry, need to prioritise a cultural shift that places cybersecurity at the forefront of their concerns, similarly to how safety cultures have become established over time.

 “The Operator’s Story” at the OECD International Transport Forum, Leipzig

Richard Anderson, Professor Dan Graham, Dr. Roger Allport and Priya Wells attended the 2017 OECD International Transport Forum to bring the ongoing “Operator’s Story” research project to industry experts and policymakers from around the world. The RTSC team were joined by Dominic Patella, Senior Transportation Specialist at the World Bank, and an expert panel made up of Dr Jacob Kam of Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway, Ismael Uruen Pueyo of Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona and Professor Tony Ridley of Imperial College London.

“The Operator’s Story” is an applied research project aiming to capture and document what makes metros successful from the Operator’s point of view, a perspective that has been little explored. 10 members of the Community of Metros participated in in-depth case studies for the research, providing insight into their governance structures, operational opportunities and constraints, and relationships with stakeholders. These findings have been combined with long-term metro benchmarking to present a set of initiatives that actively improve metro success, for application to existing and new metro systems alike.

Examples of external factors affecting metro operators

Richard Anderson, Roger Allport and Dominic Patella presented the emerging findings of the research, focusing on the increasing trend towards urbanisation and the use of metro rail as a solution to promote sustainable growth. Roger Allport presented key insights from the in-depth case studies, focusing on strategic and governance practices. Using best practice insight from the Community of Metros, Richard Anderson presented some of the key operational principles of metro development.

Ismael Uruen Pueyo (Director of Economic and Finance, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona) during the panel discussion

Following the presentation, questions were fielded from the audience to the presenters and expert panel. The questions were diverse, covering the setup of metros to successfully transition between engineering, operations and management, managing service levels during constrained funding periods and recruiting expertise for metros.

“The Operator’s Story” team in Leipzig from the World Bank, RTSC at Imperial College London and Community of Metros


“The Operator’s Story” team would like to thank the OECD International Transport Forum for hosting this first session into the research findings, as well as the members of the expert panel who provided valuable insight into how the research findings apply in real-world situations.

A report presenting “The Operator’s Story” Emerging Findings can be found here.

Research: Driver Training

Training drivers and maintaining their skills and knowledge are significant efforts for almost all metros. Metros need to implement adequate selective recruitment processes to find suitable candidates to become drivers.

The core of initial driver training programmes amongst metros is largely similar, averaging at 100 working days. Programme length depends on a number of factors, including external vs internal recruitment, training facilities, and metros’ expectation towards the role of drivers. The content of training courses used by metros was explored by the study as well.

Duration of Initial Driver Training by Teaching Structure

Apart from the driver initial training, the study also reviewed the frequency of the recurring driver training. By comparing the duration of the driver training to the reliability performance, a correlation was identified between longer training and fewer staff-related incidents causing delays.

Training methods are evolving, as technological advances allow for a greater reliance on simulators to enable drivers to gain experience and confidence in a controlled environment. The developing dependence on mobile devices was identified as an opportunity to integrate more mobile technology into recruitment and training.

Community of Metros News: CoMET 2017 Management Meeting in New York

Members of the Community of Metros attended the CoMET 2017 Management Meeting in New York, held from 15th – 17th March 2017. Representatives from 15 members attended the meeting, which focused on work programme development for CoMET in 2017. New York City Transit provided a host presentation focusing on its upcoming plans and characteristics, and members presented a short update on their organisation’s current projects, issues and best practices.

Members attended an opening reception at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn, as well as a technical visit to the Second Avenue Subway new line segment and stations. New York City Transit also presented its new asset monitoring tools to the group. One of these tools was the Service Intervention Recommendation Engine (SIRE), which assists train dispatchers in deciding where to hold and skip trains, taking into account the net passenger time savings and volume of passengers affected.

Self-portrait mosaic of Chuck Close at 86th Street station on the Second Avenue subway

The Railway and Transport Strategy Centre (RTSC) presented the final 2015 Key Performance Indicators results and four case study projects on Best Practices in Operating UTO Lines, Safety Culture, Planning for the Lifecycle of Metro Infrastructure Assets, and Accessibility Training.

Research: Accessibility Training

Providing accessibility is key to enabling users to travel independently, safely and comfortably within metro systems. This case study identified and evaluated metros’ accessibility training, focusing on developing a culture of assistance, training for non-frontline staff, ‘hidden’ (non-physical) disabilities and unstaffed stations.

The accessibility training has evolved over time from ‘creating awareness’ to ‘achieving equality of service’ because of changes in legislation and regulation, public and customer comments, societal awareness, and developments in technological infrastructure, etc.

The study reviewed the accessibility training modules and content. The training courses are predominantly conducted by metros, with some contributions from third parties such as advocacy groups or charities.

Research: Planning for the Life Cycles of Metro Infrastructure

The study looked at the analysis, tools and models that CoMET and Nova metros use in support of planning for the life cycle of infrastructure assets of track, civil infrastructure and power assets. The impact of funding on the ability of metros to plan for the whole life of the infrastructure assets was explored together with the maturity of metros’ strategies and plans for these assets.

Maturity in strategies for infrastructure asset management is categorised as patch and mend strategies, state of good repair strategies, strategies based on reliability, cost and risk, and optimisation strategies. On the basis of all the elements (i.e. funding predictability, strategies and plans developed and implemented, analysis undertaken for maintenance and investment and sophistication of tools or models in support of decisions), the study developed a maturity map for CoMET and Nova metros.

Most mature metros in planning for the life cycle of infrastructure assets show a holistic strategy, integrating maintenance and investment and using optimisation techniques. This strategy is generally established for the long term with shorter term plans developed at a level below the asset class.

Community of Metros News: CoMET 2016 Annual Meeting in Singapore

In November 2016 members of the Community of Metros came together for the CoMET 2016 Annual Meeting in Singapore, hosted by Singapore SMRT. The meeting was attended by representatives from 18 metros – all 16 CoMET members and two Nova members from the Southeast Asia region.

Throughout the week, attendees toured SMRT facilities, including the Kim Chuan Depot, which is the world’s largest underground depot and home to the fully automated Circle Line. During meeting sessions each metro shared their latest updates, including specific recent initiatives aiming to improve customer satisfaction or service quality.

The Railway and Transport Strategy Centre (RTSC) from Imperial College London presented the results of recent benchmarking research. The latest key performance indicator results were focused on meeting host Singapore SMRT and also included new items looking in more detail at the benchmarking of reliability and asset performance. Other recent benchmarking research that was presented and discussed included the 2016 results of the international metro customer satisfaction survey and the updated safety performance indicators. The recent benchmarking studies on the agenda were on Driver Training and Cybersecurity.

The meeting concluded with the 7th annual CoMET CEO/COO Day, where senior managers from the metros gathered to discuss metro performance and managing network expansion, addressing cybersecurity risks, and carrying out asset renewals.

Research: Safety Culture

Safety still remains a challenge despite sizeable investments in making the equipment and hardware safer for metros. The most significant barrier to enabling a continuous improvement in safety is to understand and alter the safety culture of the organisation. A model for the improvement of an organisation’s safety culture was developed through the study.

A reasonable level of safety may be achieved through adherence to external regulations, robust processes, good training schemes and an organisational structure which devotes senior management attention safety, defining an organisation ‘practicing safety’. However, a culture which constantly prioritises safety and is aware of the implications of every action it takes is hard to build and maintain.

To fully become an organisation that is always ‘thinking safety’, three key linked behaviours are required, including (1) excellent measuring and monitoring of safety performance, which, in turn, enables (2) the transparent enforcement of standards in a fashion which balances safety and individual accountability, feeding into (3) a robust procedure to investigate and learn from errors.

Continual effort is required to improve in all areas of the safety culture model. The creation of trust is key to enabling a good safety culture, alongside a balance between enforcement of standards and practices and accountability of actions.

Community of Metros News: Nova 2016 Meeting in Lisbon

In September 2016 members of the Nova metro benchmarking group met in Lisbon, hosted by Metropolitano de Lisboa. The extended four-day meeting was attended by representatives from 17 metros. This was the first meeting for the new member Vancouver SkyTrain, who presented an extended introduction to their metro. Berlin BVG metro was also invited as a European CoMET member and presented an extended update of their metro. All other Nova members also had the opportunity to share their latest updates and challenges.

During the meeting benchmarking research results from the past year were presented and discussed. This included the latest key performance indicator results, updates on recent CoMET and Nova research on fares, results of the 2016 international metro customer satisfaction survey, and results of several benchmarking studies. The recent studies on the agenda were Management of Electronic Maintenance, Planning for the Life Cycles of Metro Infrastructure Assets, Safety Culture, and Best Practices in Operating Very High Frequency Metro Services. Meeting attendees also discussed and agreed the work programme for the next year.

In addition, attendees used the metro to travel between the hotel near Saldanha and the meeting venue at Alto dos Moinhos station. The group also visited the Pontinha Depot and Workshop as well as the metro’s Operation Control Centre (OCC). As part of the meeting’s social activities attendees also got to travel on a famous historic tram and visit the Carris Museum.