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: Unattended Train Operation

RTSC’s recent research into unattended train operations (UTO) has investigated the role of human operational support on UTO lines. In doing so, a key finding relates to the use of attendants or train captains – metro staff members who are based in the passenger car, rather than in a separate driver’s cab. Formal definitions of Grades of Automation as in IEC-62290 assume that if a staff member is onboard, they are fulfilling a necessary role, in operating the train, as in London’s Docklands Light Railway where attendants close the doors. The assumption is therefore that lines capable of being operated unattended (Grade of Automation 4) are operated unattended. This research study has found that in fact some metros with GoA4 lines actually use attendants on all trains for other reasons, for example to provide customer service. This has led RTSC to describe this type of line as ‘Attended GoA4,’ reflecting the fact that it fits the specification for a GoA4 line as described in IEC-62290, but is not being operated unattended. The diagram below illustrates how ‘Attended GoA4’ automation fits in with the grades of automation.

Adapted from IEC-62290 for the purposes of demonstrating differences in the real-world operational application of the formal Grades of Automation (GoA1-4) defined in the standard.
Adapted from IEC-62290 for the purposes of demonstrating differences in the real-world operational application of the formal Grades of Automation (GoA1-4) defined in the standard.

The case study explored in more detail the actual staffing levels used or planned on participating metros’ automatic lines. The total number of operational staff was compared with the number of assets (stations and trains) in service, providing metros with a useful benchmarking metric that normalised for differences in line length and service level. A typology of staffing models was also developed and linked with associated staffing levels. This work on staffing was complemented by investigation into the technologies required to enable automation; their costs; and metros experiences with their reliability.

This research was presented as a poster at the 94th Transportation Research Board of the National Academies Annual Meeting in Washington DC, in 2015.

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.

Metro News: Preventing fare evasion in Moscow

Moscow Metro has recently completed trial operation of devices that prevent jumping over turnstiles.  The devices are inexpensive triangular steel structures installed on top of the turnstile, which prevent fare evaders jumping over the turnstiles by leaning on the turnstile’s cover with their hands.

According to observations of metro workers since the trial began in Tsaritsyno station, incidents of jumping over the turnstiles has dramatically reduced, and revenues from the sale of tickets at cashier office had increased. If the full analysis shows positive results, these devices will be installed in other busy metro stations.

Fare evasion prevention pyramids
Pyramids prevent jumping over the barriers

Metro News: Sydney’s unique contract design underpins train performance

About half of Sydney’s suburban fleet has been replaced, in a $3.5Bn Public-Private Partnership (PPP). It is the largest passenger fleet procurement in Australian history, replacing non-air-conditioned rolling stock and providing for future growth. This required a robust commercial and operational framework for a contract term which exceeds 30 years.

In 2004, the NSW railway operator RailCorp took an innovative approach. At the very beginning of the procurement process, rather than at the typical point of signing contracts, it appointed a project delivery leader to establish an integrated commercial, operational, technical and delivery management team. This has been a main contributor to a successful PPP contract, which was structured to underpin safety, quality control, and reliability over 30 years. This specialist team provided input into the final contract design and performance specifications based on previous new fleet deployments.  The delivery team has also proved invaluable in overseeing implementation, from the build phase through to passenger service.

One of the unique features of this PPP contract is that it does not contain typical liquidated damages penalties (although, the separate contract between the consortium’s manufacturer and TLS provider does include liquidated damages).  Instead, the contract relies on several ‘incentivising’ payment mechanisms aligned to drive desired performance outcomes. The payment system promotes behaviour that reduces the need for the NSW railways operator to actively enforce the contract. At the heart of the contract are performance-based payments that require 72 of the 78 trains to be made available for passenger service each day. Until the trains are provided and available, Sydney RailCorp makes no payment to Reliance Rail for them.

Another significant factor has been a comprehensive operational-readiness programme. This involved stakeholder and expert consultation during the development phase, to integrate contract requirements with the operational requirements of the operating railway.  This readiness programme involved over 20 enabling projects including people & change management initiatives to support operational efficiencies and the deployment of the new fleet.

These measures have led to one of the smoothest new fleet deployments in the history of NSW. In just over 14 months, 14 eight-car double deck trains (which include 1 spare set) have been introduced into passenger service and accumulated more than a million kilometres in service.  Feedback and internal surveys indicate customers rate the Waratah train as the best train for performance and comfort amongst all existing fleet, including other recent fleet acquisitions. Similarly feedback from crew about the Waratah trains has been positive with train performance in line with expectations.

Metro News: Metro Rio’s “Pit Stop/Bogie Drop” Replacement System

Metro Rio has recently begun using an innovative system for bogie replacement. In the 1980s, Metro Rio rolling stock’s bogies were replaced using four hydraulic jacks (15 tons capacity each) to lift a 42 tonne metro car and drop the bogie. This equipment was obsolete, unreliable and sometimes unsafe. Furthermore, there was no feature to synchronize the rise/descent of the 4 jacks, thus making it a complex operation. These factors lead Metro Rio to develop a different system to replace bogies using a lifting platform coupled to two hydraulic jacks. This system required the maintenance team to uncouple the specific car from the rest of the train to replace bogies, and this single car could only be moved with a maintenance vehicle (as there is no third rail inside the rolling stock maintenance area).

Recently Metro Rio has acquired a new fleet (19 trains with 6 cars) which uses semi-permanent couplings. The process of uncoupling these is time-consuming, making the current bogie replacement process not very effective. That led Metro Rio to design and construct a new bogie replacement system.

Metro Rio's pit stop bogie replacement system
Metro Rio’s pit stop bogie replacement system

The new bogie replacement system is called “pit stop.” A complete train can get into this system without any maintenance vehicle support as the bogie drop facility is located in a single dedicated track with power supply. The bogie is removed without having to uncouple the cars, reducing the downtime considerably. The “pit stop/bogie drop” is particularly useful when a bogie failure happens during service hours and is necessary to get the train back into revenue operation very quickly.

Train using the pit stop system
Train using the pit stop system

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.

Metro News: Improving service through automation in Paris

The automation of Line 1, the Paris Métro’s oldest and most popular line, with 725,000 passengers per day, has been achieved without any major interruption to service. This technological change has become necessary to deal with the steady increase in passenger traffic.

With the automation, Line 1’s passengers will benefit from a more responsive and regular transport service, ensuring greater safety and comfort. One of the main benefits of automation is the line’s ability to react instantly to an increase in passengers and provide the number of trains required for the optimum operation of the line.

The automation is expected to improve commercial speed by 4% and because fewer trains will be needed for the same headway, will achieve 6% rolling stock savings. The system also has the potential to reduce minimum headway by 20%. Not having a driver’s cab will also increase passenger capacity by 6%, even without any headway improvements.

The installation of platform screen doors on all the lines’ platforms contributes significantly to the smooth running of the line, avoiding interruptions associated with track intrusions, while also enhancing passenger safety. The migration process combined both automatic and manually driven trains on the same line, with all trains automated since January 2013. It is a world first given the importance of the line.

The project to automate line 1, launched in 2004, is part of the huge modernisation programme that RATP will be undertaking over the next twenty years. The project will allow the company to meet growing demand and to satisfy its customers’ expectations in terms of safety, comfort, regularity, flexibility and information, at a time when RATP is seeking ways of anticipating and/or remedying network saturation.

New rolling stock and control centre on Line 1
New rolling stock and control centre on Line 1

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