CoMET and Nova News: Nova Management Meeting in Toronto

In May 2014, Nova members from 16 cities around the world were hosted by Toronto TTC for the Annual Meeting of Nova metros. Each metro provided updates on their latest news and developments.

toronto
Nova members are shown around a Toronto TTC depot facility

Members visited three active construction sites, including a completed tunnel, along the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE): Downsview Park (Sheppard West), Finch West, and Highway 407. They also carried out a tour of TTC’s multimodal system, with a focus on integration and transfers between modes.

Toronto's Sheppard Yonge interchange
Toronto’s Sheppard-Yonge interchange station served by the Sheppard Line (shown above) and the Yonge-University-Spadina Line. 

Results and best practices were presented from the three research projects carried out in the last six months, on the topics of:

  • Understanding Revenue and Demand
  • Impact of New Lines, Extensions and Major Projects on the Existing Metro
  • Planning and Execution of Major Events

Results were also presented for CoMET studies on Communication with Passengers, Dwell Time Management and Human Operational Support for Unnattended Train Operation Lines. Discussion followed each of the studies.

The Nova Chair for the next phase will be Joakin Granados from Barcelona TMB.

CoMET and Nova News: CoMET Management Meeting in Mexico City

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Mexico City’s Mayor addresses CoMET members in an official reception at the City Hall

Representatives of 15 of the world’s largest metros met this week in Mexico City to share good practice and agree on future directions for cooperative research. The meeting included a technical visit of Mexico City Metro’s facilities, including the control centre, the surveillance centre, and examples of rubber-tyred and steel-wheeled lines.

Imperial College London presented updates on latest research, including key performance indicators with a special focus on the host metro. Members were updated on research topics including dwell time management, unattended train operations, and the impacts of major projects on the existing metro.

The CoMET group also welcomed Singapore SMRT as a new member. SMRT has been a member of the Nova group for small and medium-size metros for many years, and with 690 million passenger journeys in 2012, has now grown to a size comparable with CoMET metros. Their move to CoMET will enable them to continue their valuable contributions to metro benchmarking.

Research: Asset Information Systems

A Nova research project examined how metros manage their asset information and what systems and applications are used to achieve this. The study identified eight key asset information management (AIM) ‘maturity factors’ adopted by good practice metros. These factors were used to compare the combined effects of each metro’s asset information management, systems and applications. The results were then analysed to begin to understand the reasons behind and paths toward maturity.

Asset information maturity factors
Management and control of asset information are more important than the system used

The study’s key finding is that a metro’s asset information system (AIS) cannot itself manage asset information – it should support a metro’s overall AIM strategy. An AIS itself and the associated technologies are secondary to the need to structure and manage asset information to match the requirements of the business and its users.

Some Nova and CoMET metros have forged ahead and are developing mature approaches that are using the new technology based on good information standards, with sound system management that is based around users and a culture of continuous improvement.

Research: Incident Response & Recovery: Phase 2 Study and Workshop

Following the success of the CoMET 2011 case study on Improving Incident Response and Recovery, a drill-down study was proposed to understand some of the best practices identified in more detail. The drill-down study added to the detailed incident data collected in Phase 1 and completed a more disaggregated analysis of the data, looking at detailed causes and the durations associated with incidents of different causes. An area of particular interest to the case study sponsors was the organisation of incident management, and here the ‘strategic-tactical-operational’ (gold-silver-bronze) structure adopted in two European metros was recommended. The sponsoring metro has since contacted these metros to learn more about this structure.

A crucial part of this Phase 2 study was a workshop, bringing together incident response experts from ten CoMET and Nova metros, as well as two members of CoMET and Nova’s sister benchmarking group for suburban railways, ISBeRG. This workshop resulted in the development of 14 ‘golden rules’ for incident response and recovery, which provide clear and concise guidance to metros and have since been adopted by a European metro. Similarly, an American metro is implementing best practices from the case study in resource distribution, infrastructure maintenance, and emergency response. A key recommendation arising from the workshop was the use of ‘hot debriefs’ to ask staff how the management of an incident could have been improved, immediately after the event; this good practice has since been taken on by a European metro.

CoMET and Nova News: Introducing Istanbul Ulasim

In 2012 Nova welcomed Istanbul Ulasim to the group. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, with a population of 13 million people making 27 million daily trips of which 13% are made by rail.

The rail-based network in Istanbul comprises 8 rail-based lines which include metro, light rail, and tram. The metro lines, M1 (red), M2 (green), M3 (blue( and M4 (pink), are included in the Nova membership. Line M5 (purple) is currently under construction. With the recent opening of the Marmaray tunnel linking M4 (Asian side) with the European side of Istanbul, this metro becomes the world’s first inter-continental metro network.

Metro Facts:

  • 25 million car km in 2012
  • 175 million passenger journeys in 2012
  • 77% customer satisfaction
  • 62% of journeys made using the Akbil smartcard

Istanbul Ulasim will benefit from Nova and CoMET through the ability to share good practices and learn from other fast-growing metros in large cities in South America and Asia.

Istanbul Ulasim network map
Istanbul Ulasim network map

CoMET and Nova News: Nova welcomes London Docklands Light Railway

With the Nova group expanding to 17 members in 2013, the group is pleased to welcome Docklands Light Railway in London. It operates a 35-km network with 45 stations. After initially being designed as a light rail system to enable regeneration of East London, it has been repeatedly expanded to create a much higher capacity system, serving key East London destinations including the financial district and the Olympic park. Their network map may be seen below.

DLR's network map
DLR’s network map

CoMET and Nova News: Nova welcomes Rapid KL, Kuala Lumpur

With the Nova group expanding to 17 members in 2013, the group is pleased to welcome Rapid KL from Kuala Lumpur.

RapidKL operates two metro lines in Kuala Lumpur – the Ampang line, and the Kelana Jaya Line. Together, the two lines provide a 55km network that is integrated with both the suburban rail lines and the monorail in Kuala Lumpur. The image below shows their network at the time of joining.

Rapid KL's network on joining Nova
Rapid KL’s network on joining Nova

The Kelana Jaya line uses Unattended Train Operation, adding to the Nova and CoMET groups’ experience in this area.

CoMET and Nova News: CoMET Metro Executives meet President of Chile

CoMET and President Pinera

President Piñera with CoMET executives at La Moneda Palace, Santiago

For three days in October 2013, senior executives of eleven of the world’s largest metros met to discuss good practice in metro operations. The meeting was hosted by Metro de Santiago, and participants were able to learn from site visits, including details of the construction of two new automated lines, and how Metro de Santiago is using new train driving simulators to increase staff competence.

The metro CEOs and COOs were also honoured to visit the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera and the Chilean Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Pedro Pablo Errazuriz at La Moneda Palace. The meeting with the president included productive discussions about worldwide practices in metro investment.

CoMET and Nova News: Nova welcomes Nanjing Metro

With the Nova group expanding to 17 members in 2013, the group is pleased to welcome Nanjing Metro. The Metro is expanding rapidly, with a current network length of 80km and further lines under construction. The city of Nanjing will be hosting the Youth Olympic Games in 2014, and this is driving significant metro expansion. Nanjing Metro will be the first member of Nova in mainland China, and the group very much welcomes the diversity they will add.

nanjing for 2014 games

 Nanjing’s future network map, illustrating expansion driven by their hosing of the Youth Olympics in 2014

Research: Train Driver Productivity

A Nova research study on train driver productivity aimed to identify the most important factors that influence driver efficiency, understand what methods operators have successfully used to modernise restrictions to working arrangements and identify the scope for metros to modify the most important constraints, rules and parameters that have a negative effect on both driver productivity and costs.

The study found that metros need to have sufficiently flexible labour rules to achieve higher levels of driver productivity. Correlating the level of working time flexibility with driver productivity showed that less restricted metros were more productive than metros that face stricter constraints. Organisations with part time drivers and / or the ability to utilise split shifts were associated with higher levels of driver productivity and increased effectiveness of driver time at work (better able to cover ‘peaks and troughs’ in service). Moreover, it was found that variable shift lengths were arguably more effective than split shifts for metros with a flatter service profile, allowing metro managers to adjust shift schedules as necessary and to avoid the build up (unproductive time) of staff during less busy and off peak periods. In the long term, savings from increased flexibility could more than offset the higher driver wages associated with greater flexibility. Increasing automation of train services through automatic train turnaround, remote booking-on for drivers and driverless trains can positively influence driver productivity and allow driver roles to be deployed more effectively through more customer facing roles.

It is hoped that the information contained within this study can be used to support negotiations with labour unions, government and other key stakeholders by showing evidence of how “imposed” restrictions may impact an organisation’s ability to improve and manage productivity.