Research: Modern Maintenance Practices

Technological advances have created the opportunity to transform maintenance practices to develop cost-efficient infrastructure management and improved system performance with regard to safety and reliability. To consider balance between preventive and corrective maintenance for managing track, switches and crossings, and civil structures, the study looked into what the optimal balance should be. Incorporating flexibility and slack into maintenance plans and focusing on dealing with the constraints of staff scheduling and limited track access, are strategies to increase the proportion of preventive works.

By analysing time-use during track access, the study identified major causal factors for lost time during possession to be travel and preparation. Therefore the strategies used by metros to reduce lost time were outlined in the study. The study also looked at key factors that influence maintenance costs, as well as examined metros’ outsourcing strategies.

Automation was seen to reduce the volume of labour necessary, particularly in labour intensive activities such as on-foot inspections. Three main areas of future maintenance practices with potential were identified: better data, improved maintenance practices, and renewals. Good practices in these areas were listed as examples in the report.