1 Improved reporting of our network system operator activities an NSO Dashboard
2 Executive Summary Consultation: Network System Operation 02 Good network system operation matters. The way we plan and use the railway infrastructure needs to support the most efficient or best use of the network for customers and funders. We recognise that this is a broad definition which contains a wide variety of factors to be considered when planning and using the railway but all of the system outputs can potentially be affected by every decision we take even if we only want to change one of these. To Network Rail, the concept of network system operation is broader than efficiency in capacity management; for us it captures the range of activities for which we are responsible in the capacity planning, contracting, allocation and delivery lifecycle. Network System Operation, and this consultation, is not about Network Rail undertaking any new activities, but rather about how we think about and report on the processes and outputs of our current activities. In everything we do, we want to be able to consider the impacts of our decisions at a whole-system level, and we want other decision makers to be able to do so too. We believe that good network system operation should deliver a range of outcomes consistently, transparently and efficiently, including: balancing competing customer needs, delivery of whole network benefits and policies - including avoiding border issues within a network, bringing consistency and cohesion to decision making through the capacity planning and allocation process, delivering the planned outputs, supporting whole-system, whole-life, whole network planning and decision making, maintaining fair treatment for all operators within and across different routes and infrastructures, and providing a framework for seamless and efficient network operation including during extreme circumstances. We propose to publish a wide range of output measures (what we delivered), process measures (how we delivered) and improvement measures (continuous improvement) in order to develop the transparency of the effects that decisions made by Network Rail and other industry parties (including funders and regulator) have on whole-system outputs; and of how we deliver network system operation. This initiative will take the form of a web-based Network System Operation dashboard of whole-network data. Users will be able to interrogate the interactive dashboard and datasets will be disaggregated as far as practical to present with historic data with meaningful time trends. Initially the data presented will be limited to currently available datasets. However, working with industry partners over time, we hope it will become a comprehensive and indispensable conduit of information to support good decision making. We welcome your feedback on the indicative dashboard itself (Annex A), on our proposed approach, and on the transparency aspirations behind them both. Details of how to respond are provided at the end of the document.
3 Contents Consultation: Network System Operation 03 What is Network System Operation in rail and why is it important? A Network System Operation dashboard assessing good system operation now and for the future A developing information tool where next? 08 Your views 09 Annex A Proposed dashboard of measures Annex B Definitions of measures Annex C Potential future measures Annex D Example drill down and comparison reports Annexes available separately at
4 01 What is Network System Operation in rail and why is it important? Consultation: Network System Operation 04 The railway system in Great Britain carries unprecedented volumes of traffic, and does so on a network that is much reduced from its previous maximum extent. The railway system in Great Britain carries unprecedented volumes of traffic, and does so on a network that is much reduced from its previous maximum extent. Our network is among the most open and competitive railway environments in Europe, with services provided by a large number of companies in the private sector. Train operators typically focus on specific geographies and markets within the wider network and can have very different capacity requirements to drive the efficient provision of their services. Customer access has to be balanced with the engineering access needs to maintain, renew and enhance the infrastructure a requirement that increases as the demand for train services rises. The role of co-ordinating this complex system in a fair and transparent way has therefore never been more important. It is positive system operation that will allow our heavily utilised system to achieve the necessary outputs (volumes of passenger and freight traffic, reliability, journey opportunities and journey times) to contribute to the national economy. As part of its commitment to continuous improvement, Network Rail is consulting on the way it approaches and reports on the activities it undertakes as the network system operator. This consultation is being conducted in parallel with a consultation by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) on system operation in rail. To help develop a shared and consistent understanding of system operation, ORR s publication sets out what system operation in rail is; such as the services of planning, co-ordination and allocation of the capacity of a network. The ORR s consultation also considers what good system operation looks like so that development of, and access to, the network is provided to customers and funders as efficiently and reliably as possible. The ORR further describes how some of these system operation roles are played by different parties, including franchising authorities as well as its own role as economic regulator. In this document we focus on the elements of system operation that are undertaken by Network Rail, i.e. network system operation. In a complicated rail network with multiple users there are apparent benefits from a whole-system approach to the planning and allocation of capacity across the whole network. The most obvious arise because demand for transport is not confined to separate geographical regions. There are significant passenger and freight flows that cross whatever geographical boundaries might be imposed on the railway infrastructure. In Great Britain, Network Rail acts to minimise the effect of geographical divisions (i) between our own operational management units, and (ii) between our network and other infrastructure managers. Managing the operation of core routes across multiple management units of its network Examples of the first of these include long distance passenger services for instance, passenger services of the CrossCountry franchise operate over 7 separate Network Rail Routes ; conversely the London North Western Route has 14 different passenger and freight operators running on its infrastructure, each with services that cross into neighbouring routes. Network benefits are even more obvious for freight services. The enormous growth seen in intermodal traffic from Southampton and Felixstowe to the midlands and the north would be hampered if there was not a national planning function and a national control to oversee their operation. For any long distance passenger or freight service, the co-ordination of engineering work is important across geographical boundaries so that, where practical, a diversionary route is made available around a line closure. This approach has enabled Network Rail to maintain a policy of scheduling engineering access in a way that maintains a London Scotland route in so far as is possible at all times. Managing the interfaces with other infrastructure managers In the future, inter-im coordination will become more pronounced in Great Britain. Increased devolution within Network Rail to separate routes, and
5 01 What is Network System Operation in rail and why is it important? Consultation: Network System Operation 05 devolution in Scotland and Wales, and any possible concessions that may be pursued will drive different local priorities within Network Rail s own infrastructure. Domestic high-speed services in Kent already operate across both Network Rail and HS1 infrastructure and, when Crossrail becomes operational, services will interact with Network Rail infrastructure to the east and west and if going to Heathrow will use a third infrastructure manager s network. Finally, the United Kingdom has also recently joined a European rail freight corridor (at least from the Channel Tunnel to London but potentially going further) so that pre-arranged freight paths can be provided from an international terminal in West London to the German and Swiss borders and to central and southern France. All of these interfaces will need to be increasingly managed for a number of system operation activities including co-ordinating long-term planning, access agreements, and capacity allocation. Managing the interactions between different types of train service A further set of benefits arises from the integrated planning and operation of the railway system across different business sectors. Britain s predominantly mixed-traffic railway, where long distance passenger services share infrastructure with regional and local services and freight trains of many different types, requires a balance of the conflicting requirements of the different services. Currently, the balance between services provided for the various passenger markets is to some extent decided within the Department for Transport, because it specifies the services to be operated by the majority of passenger franchises. But already this service requirement has to be considered by Network Rail alongside potentially conflicting needs of passenger services specified by other authorities (Transport for London and Transport Scotland), open access passenger operators, and significant across most of the network freight operators. In the future these conflicts too will become more pronounced. Devolution is planned to give local government more say in the specification of local services: this will improve the focus on these services, but is likely to lead to increased tension between the differing needs of these and longer-distance services. Access to information The factors inhibiting Network Rail, and other parties, from delivering good system operation right now include ready access to information so that informed decisions can be taken. The availability and transparency of information is something which this consultation seeks to improve. Transparency requires data collection, processing and presentation of the resulting information to industry participants and stakeholders, so that decisions may be taken on the basis of common and reliable signals from the market. Network Rail proposes to publish a dashboard of measures which will include overall system outputs, process efficiency measures and measures of success in achieving particular transformational change programmes. Section 3 describes our proposed approach. Question 1: What importance do you attach to the activities of network system operation as described; are there other elements you would include? Question 2: Besides transparency of information, are there other issues that should be prioritised to support improved network system operation?
6 02 A Network System Operation dashboard: assessing good system operation now and for the future Network Rail has developed, (with engagement from the ORR), a proposed range of measures reflecting system outputs and the processes and improvement actions that drive those outputs. In doing so, we aim to report on the balance of outputs that represent the delivery of these to assess how well the system operation roles are fulfilled on a network-wide basis. The data, which could be published in a single place on Network Rail s website, is intended to give an insight into how well network system operation is being undertaken, and to provide information that is useful to decision makers about the consequences of decisions on the whole-system outputs around the network. By reporting on defined metrics we could display trends over time and highlight clusters and outliers by network geography or by groups of train services. Not only can the data indicate how the rail network is performing; it can also inform decisions about choices between different aspects of train services such as volume, stopping patterns, speed and reliability. The top-level dashboard (Annex A) has been structured in four parts: Outputs of the railway system Processes that support delivery of the outputs Transformation programmes to improve processes A high-level descriptive overview Viewing these parts together should demonstrate how, over time, delivery of transformation programmes can improve process scores, which in turn support better outputs. Each part is described in turn below. Outputs of the railway system Each of the system outputs will eventually have associated measures on the dashboard: system safety; volumes of passenger and freight traffic carried; scheduled journey/transit times; reliability, including the impacts of planned and unplanned changes to services; customer satisfaction. The commentary in Annex A sets out the measures selected for the Consultation: Network System Operation 06 indicative dashboard from sources currently available. Processes that support delivery of the outputs The processes that Network Rail uses to deliver its network system operation activities are described in sequence in the commentary in Annex A. Eventually we intend each process to have associated measures included on the dashboard. Transformation programmes The significant transformation programmes related to network system operation activities are proposed to be measured by means of progress against planned milestones. The three included in the indicative dashboard are described more fully in the commentary in Annex A. Descriptive overview Accompanying the dashboard itself is a page that provides, in free text form, a summary and brief commentary for the previous year across several areas within the network system operation remit. Its purpose is to provide insight to stakeholders into how well network system operation is being undertaken, and which areas have been given particular attention in the year under review. Availability of data Some measures are already being reported outside Network Rail and the dashboard is simply collating and sharing these publically available data sources in one accessible place. Others however are less familiar and while the data may have been collected prior to the creation of this dashboard, it has not necessarily been widely shared outside Network Rail or presented in this style. Each measure has a non-technical description, with more specific technical details provided in Annex B. For measures which have been in use over a long period, e.g. passenger and freight train performance, the data collection, collation and analysis is largely automated. However, other measures rely on data and collection systems that are less mature and so some are still a work in progress and will need further validation before publication.
7 02 A Network System Operation dashboard: assessing good system operation now and for the future Consultation: Network System Operation 07 - Quarter - Period - Week - Day - Hour? - Sector (4) - Operator (33) - Service Group (c200) - Service Code (c1000) - Train? (c10000?) - Country (2) - Route (10) - Strategic Route (17) - Strategic Route section (304) - Constant traffic section? (c7000) Some measures have automated data production in existence and some require manual resources to define, collate and publish them. Dashboard drill down reports The dashboard shows a top line figure for each measure comparing a particular year with the previous one; more detailed and disaggregated reports will also be available and indicative reports, as examples, have been produced for this consultation, in Annex D. Time trends can be produced, although the included measures have greatly varying start dates for comparable data series. The practicalities of disaggregation by time and by geography are also different for different measures. Where available, these reports will be in the form of historic annual, quarterly or periodic data, and, where relevant, they will show the components that have been combined to form each national aggregate figure. We propose to make these reports accessible from the dashboard web page via hypertext links. Dashboard comparison reports as to what other outputs moved during those times in a way that may have accommodated this movement. The dashboard would allow changes in other capacity elements such as average speed, to be considered at the same time. It is recognised that the data in the scorecard is all network-wide; and likely to mask significant local variations. So, we propose to develop data tools to show these relationships at sub-network levels. The principal difficulty here is that geographical disaggregation can usually be either by groups of train services or by infrastructure geography; there is very little data that can be cut either ways and this limits the choice of approach to take and dictates at this stage the measures that can be compared at a sub-network level. Question 3: How effective do you consider the dashboard and related information will be as tools to support decisions by industry parties and funders? Can you see any other potential audiences? Question 4: Do you support the inclusion of each measure, and its definition, on the dashboard (Annexes A & B) given current data availability? What other measures do you think could be reported now and why do you think they would be useful? Question 5: Which measures would you like to be shown in comparison with each other in the data supporting the dashboard, and why? Performance (PPM) Volume (train km/track km) The data supporting the main dashboard will enable audiences to compare different measures to investigate possible relationships between the overall system outputs and/or intermediate measures, at aggregate or, where the data structure allows, disaggregated levels. We hope that this transparency will support better decision making to increasing system efficiency. One example shown below is a comparison of passenger train performance against average traffic density since the millennium. Here the performance figure is the network-wide annual PPM figure (for all franchised passenger operators; includes open access passenger operators from 2003/4), and the traffic density represents the network-wide annual average train km (all passenger and freight trains) per track km of the network. All things being equal, one would expect an inverse relationship between these measures. The fact that for eight of the past 14 years the two measures moved in the same direction invites the question
8 03 A developing information tool where next? Consultation: Network System Operation 08 Although we recognise the need to retain data definitions over time to produce meaningful trend reports, we envisage that the dashboard and supporting data should not be static in format. They will evolve in response to the needs of stakeholders in the GB rail system. Existing measures may develop from the dashboard, or others be added, as interested parties identify more and better ways to evaluate delivery of system operation activities. Measures that are being considered for potential future inclusion are listed in Annex C. Many of these would require substantial development work, but naturally some would be easier or cheaper to implement than others. Potential priority areas Technology-related improvements could include: ETCS and TMS-enabled capacity utilisation improvements, some demand smoothing through dynamic ticket pricing based on real time passenger loading information, Better quality and more transparent usage information for passengers, funders/specifiers and industry. Integration with other modes systems for door-to-door journey planning Planning process improvements that could be delivered by network system operation could include: Better utilisation of the network, e.g. by greater use of catalogue paths where the benefits to the service mix are accepted by all this could also develop the current concept of strategic capacity reserved for short-term needs e.g. freight and charter trains. Improved contingency and service recovery planning arising from better monitoring and feedback/dissemination of lessons learned and good practice. Question 6: Which of the potential future measures listed in Annex C do you think should be prioritised for development, and why? Can you see any other information that it would be useful to develop for inclusion?
9 04 Your views Consultation: Network System Operation 09 Full list of consultation questions Question 1: What importance do you attach to network system operation as described? Are there other elements? Question 2: Besides transparency of information, are there other issues that should be prioritised to support improved network system operation? Question 3: How effective do you think the dashboard and related information will be as tools to support decisions by industry parties and funders? Can you see any other potential audiences? Question 4: Do you support inclusion of each measure, and its definition, on the dashboard (Annexes A & B) given current data availability? What other measures do you think could be included now, and why do you think they would be useful? Question 5: Which measures would you like to be shown in comparison with each other in the data supporting the dashboard, and why? Question 6: Which of the potential future measures listed in Annex C do you think should be prioritised for development, and why? Can you see any other information that it would be useful to develop for inclusion? How to respond to this consultation The consultation period begins on 14 and will run until 16 October Please ensure that your response reaches us before the closing date. All responses will be shared with ORR and subsequently published on Network Rail s website unless marked as confidential. Although primarily aimed at industry parties and stakeholders, this is a public consultation. If you have any suggestions of others who may wish to be involved in this process please contact us. When responding, please state whether you are responding as an individual or representing the views of an organisation. If responding on behalf of a larger organisation, please make it clear who the organisation represents and, where applicable, how the views of members were assembled. We also draw stakeholders attention to a joint consultation workshop we will host with ORR, at their central London offices, on 2 October The purpose of the workshop is to discuss views about our emerging findings and requisite next steps. If you wish to attend, please register your interest by Friday 21 via the address below. Where necessary, participation may be limited to one representative from each organisation. We will confirm your place at the workshop by 1 September, and provide the agenda to attendees by 18 September. An electronic version of this document, the indicative dashboard and associated reports can be found online at Please send your consultation responses to: Matthew Lutz Group Strategy, Network Rail The Quadrant:MK Elder Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 1EN Telephone: Freedom of Information Information provided in response to this consultation, may be subject to publication or disclosure in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). Network Rail will process your personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).
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