“The Operator’s Story” Open Session with the Government of India, World Bank and Community of Metros

During the CoMET 2018 Management Meeting in early March 2018, the Railway and Transport Strategy Centre (RTSC) at Imperial College London, Community of Metros and the World Bank hosted an Open Session focused on the findings from “The Operator’s Story” research project. This Open Session was kindly hosted by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and the Government of India. The day’s programme included sessions centred on the research into the government and operational requirements for metro success.

President of the Community of Metros, Philippe Martin (Deputy General Manager, RATP), introduces the session

“The Operator’s Story” research project included valuable contributions from Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona, Rapid Rail (Kuala Lumpur), Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company, Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR), Toronto Transit Commission, Guangzhou Metro, Metro São Paulo, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), London Underground, Metro de Santiago (Santiago de Chile). Interviews and fieldwork were carried out with each of these operators to form individual case studies supporting the research. These studies illuminate how new and developing metros can be successful and avoid mistakes of the past by highlighting upstream decisions that have facilitated, constrained or affected their operations.

“The Operator’s Story” report is distributed to Mukund Kumar Sinha (Joint Secretary & Officer on Special Duty, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs) and Durga Shankar Mishra (Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs)

The Open Session included presentations on key areas of the research findings, including government and operator actions for metro success, and a focus on Public Private Partnerships (PPP, 3P) for delivering metros. Two panel discussions were also held. The first saw senior managers from London Underground, Singapore SMRT and Metro São Paulo discuss their operational history, success factors and challenges. The second panel discussion comprised key figures from Indian metros to offer insight on the lessons learned through developing India’s current metros, and the plans for future systems.

Alex Barron, Head of Metro Benchmarking, presenting at the Open Session


“The Operator’s Story” emerging findings can be found here.
Many thanks to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for hosting this valuable Open Session and to Community of Metros members for their kind participation.

Community of Metros News: CoMET 2018 Management Meeting in Delhi

Members of the Community of Metros attended the CoMET 2018 Management Meeting from 5th – 9th March, hosted by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The meeting was attended by representatives from 14 metros in addition to DMRC. Members received a warm welcome from India’s Honourable Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, and from DMRC senior managers including its Managing Director, Dr. Mangu Singh.

Meeting attendees discussed and agreed on the research topics for the CoMET Work Programme for 2018. The Railway and Transport Stategy Centre (RTSC) from Imperial College London also presented findings from recent benchmarking research, including Key Performance Indicator benchmarking and case study presentations on platform safety, operational control centres and customer satisfaction.

Throughout the week, attendees were able to see DMRC’s facilities first-hand. These included visiting one of DMRC’s depot and staff training facilities, a metro museum at Patel Chowk station, and key interchanges on the network. Members also visited stations on the Red, Orange and Violet lines, as well as the Magenta Line, which was partially open at the time of the meeting and fully opened in May 2018.

Research: Using Data to Improve Maintenance

Ongoing developments in information technologies, specifically the ability to capture, store, and analyse large datasets, are creating significant opportunities to improve maintenance. The study explored the move towards predictive and data-driven maintenance within CoMET and Nova metros.

There is a clear trend in metros to move toward one asset information system. Integration of systems can bring benefits such as increased efficiency in management and data consistency. It is found that metros are adopting advanced technology (e.g. mobile devices, automatic monitoring systems) to collect data more efficiently. Collection of more detailed maintenance data and use dedicated staff to manage data are also used at the same time to improve data quality.

In order to acquire sufficient data for analysis, metros have initiated various pilot projects adding sensors to monitor asset condition. The study collected the good practices within metros in terms of data collection, analysis and applications, as well as the tangible benefits of data analysis. With the development of auto-monitoring systems and evolution of ‘big data’ analysis, there is a significant opportunity to unlock new understanding about asset performance and lifecycles.

Community of Metros News: First North American Sub-Group Meeting Held in Washington DC

The North American Sub-Group of the Community of Metros has officially been formed and its inaugural meeting held in Washington DC. The North American Sub-Group brings together metro operators in North America to collaborate on benchmarking and focus on challenges particularly affecting operators in the region. The group consists of existing Community of Metros members New York City Transit, Société de Transport de Montréal, Toronto Transit Commission and Vancouver SkyTrain, as well as new members of the community, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and Bay Area Rapid Transit (San Francisco).

During this meeting, members heard benchmarking analysis with a focus on North America, and case studies of particular relevance including Measuring and Improving Customer Satisfaction and Best Practices in Driver Training. Members also participated in structured discussions on key topics of interest for North American metro operators, such as managing reliability, ridership trends and using performance data.

WMATA Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader explains WMATA’s rolling stock replacement programme

Members used WMATA’s network extensively, learning about station operational procedures and plans for future station works. The group also visited WMATA’s Greenbelt Yard facility to learn about its rolling stock replacement programme, including the logistics of the depot and customer-focused design elements of the trains. Its new 7000-series cars total 45% of its fleet and is reducing fleet-related delays.

Community of Metros News: Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Joins

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco, United States, has joined the Nova benchmarking consortium as part of the North American Sub-Group. The North American Sub-Group brings together metro operators in North America to collaborate on benchmarking and focus on challenges particularly affecting operators in the region.

BART is a network of approximately 180km and 46 stations, transporting 124 million passengers annually. It opened in phases between 1972-1974 and now operates across five lines, as well as an automated guideway transit line serving Oakland International Airport. It runs a 24 Trains per Hour (TPH) frequency with a fleet of over 650 cars. Given its unique design and geography in the region, BART also continues to participate in the International Suburban Rail Benchmarking Group (ISBeRG).

BART has some exciting programmes underway, including the delivery of new train cars and managing extension projects. In 2018, BART opened the East Contra Costa County extension and its trains run on renewable diesel fuel. This follows the 8.6km Warm Springs Extension project, which opened in 2017, and serves as the starting extension towards Silicon Valley. BART is currently delivering its “Better BART” project, which aims to improve the system’s safety and reliability. This involves extensive projects such as track replacement, power line and structure repairs, infrastructure and station renewal, and delivering increased capacity through implementing Communications-Based Train Control signalling (CBTC).

Community of Metros News: Welcome to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) in Washington DC, USA, has joined the Community of Metros as part of the North American Sub-Group. The North American Sub-Group brings together metro operators in North America to collaborate on benchmarking and focus on challenges particularly affecting operators in the region.

Network Map of the Washington Metro (2018)

WMATA provides fully-accessible metro rail service across three jurisdictions in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, in addition to MetroBus and MetroAccess services in the region. WMATA is a nationally important public transport operator in the United States, providing the third largest metro system in the United States based on ridership (after New York City and Chicago), with approximately 180 million annual trips. It was created through a dedicated Compact in 1965 and the metro network opened in 1976 on a 7.4km, 5 station segment of the Red Line. Its original design consisted of 83 stations and approximately 160km of network length, and was delivered in phases until 2001: operations began in 1977 on the Blue Line, in 1978 on the Orange Line, in 1983 on the Yellow Line, in 2000 on the Green Line and 2014 on the Silver Line. The Blue, Orange and Silver Lines interline on some sections of route. The system is approximately 40% underground, particularly in the high-density District of Columbia, and its current fleet consists of approximately 1150 cars.

WMATA continues to add to the diversity of the Community of Metros, increasing the number of peers in North America and joining other “middle-aged” metros. One of WMATA’s notable practices is its focus on measuring and reporting its performance to customers across areas of service quality, safety, security and financial responsibility. Customers use the SmarTrip farecard to pay for their journeys on WMATA metro and bus services, and data from the SmarTrip system is used to calculate service quality indicators, such as customer on-time performance (known as “MyTripTime”). WMATA then analyses the sources of delay affecting this figure and identifies key actions to improve performance.

WMATA’s future strategic plans for the metro focus on delivering more capacity and reliability. Initiatives such as core station improvements to accommodate all eight-car trains during peak periods, adding passageways, escalators and stairs to improve passenger experience in stations, adding new Blue Line connections to reduce waiting times and adding pocket tracks and crossovers at key points on the network to deliver greater operational flexibility and resilience. The Community of Metros hopes to be a valuable source of knowledge and best practices to WMATA as it continues with these future initiatives, as well as its ongoing extensive Back2Good programme to improve total service provision to customers.

Community of Metros News: CoMET 2017 Annual Meeting in Taipei

In November 2017, members of the Community of Metros came together for the CoMET 2017 Annual Meeting in Taipei, hosted by Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC). The meeting was attended by representatives from 17 metros – 15 CoMET members and 2 Nova members from the Southeast Asia region. The meeting spanned four days, including technical visits, the Annual CEO/COO Day, and an Asian Regional Meeting.

Throughout the week, members were able to see TRTCs facilities. This included the Zhongshan Metro Mall and its “Underground Book Street”, Taipei Metro Taipei Main Station, Taoyuan Airport MRT Taipei Main Station and Taipei Metro Beimen Station. Members also toured the Beitou Depot. During meeting sessions, each metro provided an update on their recent activities, plans and challenges.

The Railway and Transport Strategy Centre (RTSC) from Imperial College London presented the results of recent benchmarking research. The latest set of Key Performance Indicators results were focused on meeting host TRTC and members were consulted on a refined and improved balanced scorecard to increase the depth and breadth of benchmarking results. Other recent research was also presented at the meeting, including results from the International Metro Customer Satisfaction Survey and Safety Performance Indicators. Two in-depth case studies were presented to the group, on Using Data to Improve Maintenance, and Station Design Guidelines and Passenger Flow Monitoring.

On Thursday 30th November, the CoMET Annual CEO/COO Day was held, where metro leaders came together to discuss issues of strategic importance. Key discussion topics included customer safety and security risks and initiatives, managing Unattended Train Operation (UTO), and preparing for new mobilities. The Asian Regional Meeting was also held on 1st December, attended by 8 members from the Asia region, as well as Paris RATP and New York City Transit to observe and participate in discussions. The group discussed key issues affecting Asian metros, including the management of rapid network expansion, managing capacity and automation, and improving reliability.

Research: Measuring and Improving Customer Satisfaction

This case study focused on the methods that metros use to measure customer satisfaction as well as the initiatives deployed to improve customer satisfaction. The study also discussed how to identify the right added amenities for metros that go over and above delivering the basic expectations of a metro service.

CoMET and Nova KPI data shows the average satisfaction rate for American Metros has seen significant fluctuations, while the average satisfaction rates for metros in other continents have generally increased more steadily year-on-year.

CoMET and Nova, customer satisfaction trends, from KPI data, split by continent (1999-2016)

Metros mainly measure customer satisfaction via customer satisfaction surveys and/or more innovative measurement techniques (e.g. focus groups interview, mystery shoppers). To increase customer satisfaction, improvements were classified into three categories: those which result in improved data collection resulting in an improved understanding of customers’ needs (such as more frequent data collection or better methods); those which improve basic services, respond to customer expectations and increase overall “performance” (such as increased train frequency or modified cleaning procedures); and those which result in added customer amenities (such as Wi-Fi on trains).

Research: Role of Operation Control Centres (OCCs)

OCCs are central to metro operations, through monitoring the entire system and hosting critical decisions during service interruptions. Several metros report plans to upgrade, expand or integrate aspects of their OCC management to improve the level of service they can deliver. The study detailed the role of OCCs focusing on changes in that role brought about by technological advances.

There is a clear trend towards the centralisation of OCC organisational structures with the belief that a unified OCC will improve the efficiency of coordination and cooperation. One critical function of OCCs is serving as a data management centre. Therefore how often information is updated is key to collecting real-time data for OCC management and communications.

Real-time data management and station remote control technologies are emerging trends and identified areas of improvement. These are often linked with the introduction of greater automation. Increased levels of automation and remote control tend to reduce the routine workload on UTO lines. This means that UTO lines typically require fewer staff in daily operation but more experienced staff to handle incidents.

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.