Community of Metros News: Recent Virtual Events

The Transport Strategy Centre (TSC) held the first Virtual General Meeting of 2024 in February. Members heard the initial findings of the study on Energy Storage Systems for Regenerative Braking and participated in the metro roundtable presentations on the topic of forecast of future demand. After the meeting, a summary regarding the latest ridership projections and remote working practices which are carried out by COMET metros was circulated.

In March, TSC held the first ever virtual KPI Data Collection Clinic presenting the annual programme of COMET data cycles, latest changes and improvements in data collection process, and responding to the common data queries. TSC received very positive feedback on this event and will work closely with members to hold similar sessions like this one in the future.

Two study webinars were held recently. The Metro Reliability Webinar, held in February, delivered the key finding of the Metro Reliability study with regard to reliability targets, trends, and improvement programmes. Singapore SMRT and New York NYCT shared their reliability journeys and performance improvements.

Example slide from Metro Reliability webinar on influencing factors

Another webinar on Preparing for Extreme Weather Events and Climate Change, held in April, gave members an opportunity to review their own vulnerability and resilience to extreme weather in relation to other metros. Metro highlight presentations were delivered by Sydney Metro and Atlanta MARTA on their preparation for handling extreme weather events.

Community of Metros News: Recent Virtual Events

The recent COMET virtual events held by Transport Strategy Centre (TSC) include the following:

  • Data Insights Webinar (September): highlights from this year’s KPI cycle, the latest Safety Performance Indicator (SPI) findings, and 2023 Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) results.
  • Study Webinar on Operational Impacts of New Fleets (October): members heard presentations from TSC on the key findings of the study, and metro highlight presentations delivered by Newcastle Nexus and Metro de Santiago.
  • COMET Panel on Knowledge Management (December): the first moderated virtual panel discussion was held by TSC, with members directly heard from Berlin BVG, MRT Jakarta, Dubai RTA, Washington DC WMATA, and London Underground on the challenges and practices in the area of knowledge management.
Example slide from Knowledge Management panel discussion

Thank you to the COMET members for participating across a wide range of virtual events in 2023. We look forward to seeing many members throughout our virtual event and in-person meeting programme in 2024.

Research: Metro-Oriented Property Development

There are many benefits of engaging in metro-oriented property development. Some benefits accrue directly to the metro operator e.g. generating ridership, while other externalities benefit the city and local economy more widely e.g. creating employment. In the post-pandemic context, some metros identified that property development offers opportunities in generating more non-transportation related revenue, which can then bridge funding gaps when declines in ridership happen.

The study reviewed the status of property development activities and development rights across member metros, as well as different models and strategies used by metros to engage in property development including collaboration with government, developers and other stakeholders. It also compiles the examples of metro experiences creating and operating established property development models including best practices and lessons learnt.

Examples of established property development models that are covered in the report

Research: Energy Efficiency

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant economic downturns have had a steep impact on global energy production and supply chains. Inevitably COMET members, who are often one of the largest consumers of energy in their cities, were deeply affected by the energy crisis.

The study collected information from 32 metros, reviewing where metros procured their energy from and their trends in consumption, as well as benchmarking metros’ performance regarding energy efficiency and energy costs. The key objective of the study is to understand the impacts of energy crisis on metro operations, and the energy saving measures that have been successfully undertaken by members – which covers multiple areas such as lighting, HVAC, regenerative braking, escalators, driving modes and stabling, etc. An overview of pilot initiatives and technologies that are considered by metros in the future was also included in the report to explore further in future.

New Seoul Metro train with zero-speed regenerative braking

Community of Metros News: COMET 2023 Annual Meeting in Dubai, 12-16 November

The Transport Strategy Centre (TSC) together with Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai welcomed over 70 attendees from 28 member metros during the COMET 2023 Annual Meeting in Dubai. This was the first major opportunity for all COMET members to come together in person since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting started with an executive day based on the themes of financial, operational, and environmental sustainability. Metro executives discussed shared challenges in the new post-COVID period, and heard wide-ranging discussions on the potential future opportunities from other metros.

The remainder of the meeting consisted of breakout sessions on the topics of technology and innovation, KPI presentations across several success dimensions, and structured discussions on the topics of staffing and reliability. Members also heard the latest update on Transport for London’s Elizabeth Line 18 months after its opening, and from new member Bangalore BMRC on their challenges and lesson learnt from its rapid network expansions.

During technical visits, delegates visited the multi-agency Enterprise Command and Control Centre, Expo Station, and RTA’s Operational Control Centre where members had discussions with Dubai metro operator, Keolis-MHI, and learnt the details about the operations and maintenance contract. Thank you to RTA for its generous hosting of a very interesting and successful COMET Annual Meeting.

Research: Operational Impacts of New Fleets

Introducing new fleets is a major, transformative project for metro operators, so managing these projects and mitigating their impact on existing operations has been of interest to COMET members. The study proposer, Newcastle Nexus, has been replacing its entire fleet in recent years and thus is keen to discover metros’ experiences in this area to deploy best practices and minimise impacts.

Based on responses from 32 metros, the study explored key tasks, typical time periods, common issues, and implemented solutions during different stages of fleet introduction phase, starting from pre-commissioning stage to final acceptance. Examples of best practices for each stage were presented, along with a summary of metros’ recommendations for future fleet introductions with a focus on project planning, risk management, and quality control.

Research: Recruitment and Retention

The entire recruiting environment has changed greatly since the COVID-19 outbreak therefore many metros have experienced new issues in recruitment and retention. In addition to the pandemic impacts, other factors, such as rising cost of living, expectations of younger generation, and aging workforce, make recruitment and retention more challenging than ever before. The study looked at the extent of recruitment and retention issues that are experienced by metros, identifying reginal difference, key drivers, and most affected roles. It also reviewed staff turnover rate and average time to fill in vacancies in recent years, and the COVID impact on both indicators.

Regional difference in recruitment issues faced by metros

The report outlined implemented improvements and initiatives, with a summary of the emerging trends in improving recruitment and retention performance. Metros’ long-term plans for recruitment and retention and their advice based on their own experience are also covered in the report.

Research: Drivers of Metro Ridership

Ridership has taken on dramatically more importance at metros since the early pandemic, when public transport demand collapsed in an unparalleled way. Metro operators have observed notable changes to travel patterns since the COVID-19 outbreak and therefore have been closely monitoring ridership trends, adding ridership-related KPIs to strategic scorecards, and proactively marketing and promoting their services in new ways.

The study summarises the main enablers and barriers of ridership, metro expectations for long-term demand forecasts, and metro initiatives to drive ridership growth. The initiatives taken by metros before and during the pandemic to promote ridership growth were explored in the six key categories as shown below.

Community of Metros News: Virtual Events from January to July 2023

In addition to the resumption of in-person meetings, COMET continued to run the full virtual events programme in 2023. The virtual events held from January to July include:

  • Case Study Webinar on Drivers of Metro Ridership, Data Governance, and Energy Efficiency. Members heard presentations from TSC on the key findings of the studies, and from metro highlight presentations delivered by specific metros who have advanced development in the areas.
  • General Meeting occurred in February and July for members to share the latest development and challenges. TSC presented the latest findings from case studies and data benchmarking, as well as the recent activities and work programme of COMET.

Research: Data Governance

Transforming the large volumes of raw data that metro operators collect into actionable intelligence is a challenging task, yet critical to enhance operations, improve customer service, and develop effective future strategies. To overcome these challenges, good data governance is needed to support data management, enable informed decision-making, and ultimately improve overall performance.

Data governance mainly focuses on data-driven decision making and provides a framework for managing data throughout its lifecycle, ensuring its quality, security, privacy, and effective utilisation. It aims to assist organisations in deriving maximum value from their data assets while minimising risks and complying with legal and regulatory requirements.

The study details three main aspects of data governance (organisation, technical, and business) and presents a data governance roadmap along with metros’ best practices.

Three main aspects of data governance