All metros must carry out work to enable continued operations and to ensure safety and reliability. These works include not only routine maintenance (which occurs on an ongoing basis) but also periodic work to renew, upgrade, or even replace assets. While every effort is made to conduct these works outside of revenue service hours (during the few overnight engineering hours that most metros have), the volume and scale of some works ultimately require more extensive closures that impact revenue service. This study investigated how metros design work plans, manage and govern track access, and communicate work to customers.
Approximately half of responding metros allow work to impact revenue service, and with increasing demand and ageing infrastructure this seems likely to increase in the future. In general, metros are using three key criteria to determine whether a project should be allowed to affect revenue service: whether the disruption is unavoidable, how urgent the work is, and whether alternative transport can cope with the added demand. In terms of service design during work, selecting the right service strategy is not straightforward. Metros need to balance the impacts of different approaches on operations (e.g. resource needs), maintenance, customer service, and revenues. Finally, in terms of communicating service information, social media is a primary form of communication with customers now, but a mix of channels is still needed to ensure that metros’ diverse audiences are reached.