Continuous improvement
Continuous improvement

Rail performance investigation tools

Risk Solutions brought together performance managers from five UK train operating companies to discuss the data and tools they use to investigate train service performance and identify ways to improve passenger journeys.  The aim of this research work, funded by City, University of London, was to identify strengths and weaknesses with the current analytical processes, and suggest how the rail industry should improve this investigation process.

It is hoped that the outcomes of this project will inform the development of improved data sets and analysis tools for the rail industry.  Accurate information is vital to an effective process of continuous improvement in any system, used in the ‘study’ phase of this cycle (plan, do, study, act) to direct where changes need to be made to improve performance.

Research findings

Understanding what affects the performance of train services is vital to find ways to improve services for passengers, and will become increasingly important in the relationships between GB Rail and train operators.

But the rail system is complex, with many interdependent parts that affect each other, so finding root causes of performance issues is challenging.  This is made harder where there are gaps in data about services, and a multitude of disconnected data sets.  Rail operators need accurate data about component behaviour and sophisticated analysis tools and visualisations to find causes of delay to be able to fix them with reliable solutions.

Data and tools are available to operators, either developed in-house or provided nationally, or from 3rd parties.  But there are gaps in data, quality and integration issues, making it difficult to get the full picture and find root causes of delay.

The challenges this work identified for the rail industry are:

  • Improving quality of data about services, removing gaps and creating integrated data sets form disparate systems, to be able to ‘see’ the whole picture
  • Developing data analysis tools so that performance teams can bring together data about all services from disparate systems
  • Creating an eco-system of shared data and analysis tools for all operators.


The full research report can be downloaded here: Rail performance investigation tools

Risk Solutions has also developed SaviRPM is a powerful simulation and performance modelling application, available to the rail industry.  It enables rail performance teams to generate better understanding and management of performance and capacity risk, using cutting edge methods including: big data analysis, agent based modelling, and interactive visualisations.

We would be delighted to hear from you if you are interested in finding out how SaviRPM could help you understand the drivers of good performance.  Please get in contact.

We have published more information about SaviRPM and some case studies here: SaviRPM demonstration

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