Research: Station Staffing Models

Changes to metro station staffing models are being driven by several factors, such as customers’ increasing expectations in stations and opportunities to use staff for the highest value-adding activities. This Station Staffing Models study identified key drivers behind the decisions and policies governing staffing models and the key enablers for effective station staff deployment.

There are primarily four station staffing models that metros use. Staffed stations with primarily multifunctional staff and/or specialist staff are the most common station staffing models.

Over half of responding metros reported significant changes to staffing models in recent years. The study therefore discussed optimal staffing model in metros based on passenger volumes, station types, roster patterns, level of automation, and digitalisation initiatives, etc. Further changes in staffing models are expected to increase as customer needs, station facilities and cost structures evolve in the future.

Research: Signage in Stations and Trains

Signage is designed to convey information primarily to assist passengers with decision-making, therefore factors such as clarity, visibility, safety, accessibility, applicability and style are important elements to take into account in signage design. Good signage communicates with passengers effectively by using clear messages, appropriate shape and size, recognisable symbols and infographics, legible typefaces/fonts and clearly contrasting colours.

Selected factors involved in signage design

The study gathers information from 28 CoMET and Nova metros and looks into their guidelines for signage design, as well as good examples that have been implemented by metros. These examples are presented by exploring six key objectives: signage for clarity, signage for branding and identity, signage for safety and security, signage for wayfinding and navigation, signage for accessibility, and signage to encourage good behaviour. The enhancements carried out by metros to improve clarity, visibility and legibility of signage are also discussed in the report. Currently, metros are exploring various approaches to complement their static signage with new types of dynamic information to encourage greater passenger awareness and decision-making. This includes dynamic information for crowd control, passenger flow, and incident response, leading to an increasing use of digital signage, and other mobile applications.

Research: Reliability of Signalling Equipment

Signalling is a safety- and service-critical metro asset. Across CoMET and Nova metros, signalling is the second-highest cause of delay incidents, and cause approximately half of all delay incidents for very reliable metros. This study analysed information from 26 metros about their signalling equipment, looking in detail at six sub-assets: point machines, interlockings, track circuits, axle counters, train stops, and signal heads. The study compares these sub-assets, including their age, reliability, and inspection/maintenance regimes, and collects initiatives that metros are pursuing to improve signalling reliability.

Metros with older and more traditional signalling systems tend to have more trackside signalling equipment, which may lead to more potential for failure and greater need for maintenance interventions to maintain reliability. To improve signalling reliability metros are rationalising their asset bases, as well as pursuing both solutions that can be retrofitted into their existing systems and new systems such as CBTC.

Research: Digital Transformation of Metros

The Digital Transformation of Metros study reviewed the strategies, initiatives, and technologies used by metros to implement digital transformation for four key purposes: safety improvement, station operations and management, train operations, and depot management. In recent years there have been several digital trends observed in metros, including provision of real-time train loading information, centralised station management, customer-facing staff equipped with tablets, installation of passenger counting equipment, etc. Metros’ long-term digital transformation plans typically involve multi-phase programmes with strong support from management, employee expertise, and partnership with external parties. Ultimately, digital transformation is highly related to transforming employees. Therefore the study summarised metros’ good practices to create a digital culture, as well as ways to remove barriers along the journey to digital transformation.

Source: Community of Metros

Community of Metros News: Bangalore BMRCL Joins

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has joined the Nova group of metros. BMRCL constructs and operates the Namma Metro (which means ‘Our Metro’) which serves Bangalore, the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state and the third most populous city in the country.

Source: Bangalore BMRCL

The first part of the system opened in 2011, and Phase 1 was completed in 2017. The system now features 42.3km that is 80% elevated and 20% underground on two lines: Purple (east-west) and Green (north-south). There are 40 stations and an estimated approximately 130m annual passenger journeys. Phase 2 is now under construction, with sections expected to open between now and 2023 that extend both existing lines and add three new lines (with an additional 93km).

Source: Bangalore BMRCL

RTSC Becomes the TSC

The Railway and Transport Strategy Centre (RTSC) at Imperial College London has a new name! In 2019, we became the Transport Strategy Centre (TSC) recognising the broad reach of our team’s work. The TSC works across public transport modes – metros, railways, buses and light rail, as well as airports.

For more information about the TSC and our work, please see our main website here.

As of early 2020, the TSC works with these cities around the world

Community of Metros News: Tokyo Metro Joins CoMET

Tokyo Metro has joined the CoMET group of metros. Their system is the oldest in Asia, dating to 1927 with the opening of the Ginza Line. Privatised in 2004, Tokyo Metro is owned by the national and metropolitan governments. The Tokyo Metro network is 195.1km with 179 stations on 9 lines and is renowned for its punctuality. Annual passenger journeys are estimated at more than 2.2 billion, making Tokyo Metro among the densest metros in the world.

Tokyo Metro’s first two lines, the 1927 Ginza Line and 1954 Marunouchi Line, operate on standard gauge track with third rail power and are independent. The rest of the network operates on narrow gauge (1067mm) like the mainline railway network in Japan, with overhead power and operate through services connecting to various suburban railways. We look forward to working with Tokyo Metro on benchmarking going forward.

Community of Metros News: Sydney Metro Joins Nova

Sydney Metro has joined the Nova group of metros. It is a new fully automated (GoA4) metro system being built in Sydney, Australia’s largest city. The first section, known as Sydney Metro Northwest, opened in May 2019 with a 4-minute peak headway. The initial segment features 23km and 8 stations newly built and the existing 13km, 5-station Epping to Chatswood rail link (which opened in 2009 and was operated by Sydney Trains until closing in September 2018 for metro conversion).

Source: Transport for NSW

Currently passengers interchange onto Sydney Trains services at Epping and Chatswood to continue to central Sydney, but Sydney Metro City & Southwest is currently under construction and will extend the line a total of 31km, including a new tunnel under Sydney Harbour and the Central Business District and the takeover of another existing Sydney Trains line in the southwest area, scheduled for 2024.

Source: Transport for NSW

Community of Metros News: CoMET 2019 Annual Meeting in Paris

Sixteen members of CoMET and three members of Nova joined the CoMET Annual Meeting hosted by Paris RATP from 11th – 15th November 2019. During the meeting, members heard the latest updates from each metro as well as the case study presentations on Managing and Reducing Absenteeism, Station Staffing Models, and Managing Works Affecting Revenue Service.

Four structured discussion sessions were held in the CEO/COO day: Ridership Trends, Metro Reliability, Workforces for the Future, and Digital Transformation of Metros. Several metros delivered presentations to share their good practices.

The technical visit brought members to Châtelet Metro and RER Station as well as the control centre for RER Line A and Line B. After the meeting, members also had the opportunity to visit the Line 14 Extension Project, Line 14 Operational Control Centre, Line 4 Automation Project, and General Control Centre for all modes (metro, tram, bus, RER).

Research: Managing and Reducing Absenteeism

Absenteeism presents widespread impacts of loss of productivity, delays and reduced morale that would affect metros’ efficiency and reliability. Currently CoMET and Nova have an average staff absenteeism rate of 4.7% (based on 2018 data), creating significant challenges for managing service provision. This study investigated levels of absenteeism at CoMET and Nova metros, identified and explored underlying causes of absenteeism, and discussed best practices to manage and/or reduce absenteeism. In discussing the factors that metros have identified that lead to absence, it is clear that absenteeism does not have one single cause and is influenced by multiple internal and external factors. It therefore requires a comprehensive set of solutions to manage and reduce.

Approaches and actions to manage and reduce absenteeism focus on measurement and management of absence data and positive approaches to employee relations. Initiatives within these categories help ensure that metros understand the scale of the issue across different organisational parameters (such as absenteeism rates by team) as well as developing an overall culture of care and trust between management and labour.