Speed Restriction Intelligence Tool (SPRINT)
The rail industry is under pressure to improve train performance, improving punctuality and giving customers a better experience. Speed restrictions are mistakenly seen as a key contributor to systemic delays and wider poor performance. In fact, many of these delays are unrelated to speed restrictions.Amey Ltd United Kingdom 05/07/2023 20:22:03
Historically, it has been extremely difficult for maintenance managers to make data-driven decisions on how to best manage a rail asset, minimising impact on performance and effectively prioritising work banks. These decisions are taken in isolation and do not account for passenger impact.
Often the root cause of delay is hard to establish and is open to misinterpretation. A key challenge for Network Rail (NR) is to identify an accurate single source of truth. Primary blockers to this have been resource intensive data entry and reporting along with inconsistent processes understanding causes and assessing impact.
To address these challenges Amey created SPRINT, a web-based tool giving an industry-wide view of speed restrictions in a simple, digestible dashboard.
SPRINT captures high-frequency, low-magnitude events which can lead to knock-on delays where one late train affects another. By quantifying delays, SPRINT enables asset maintenance teams to prioritise which speed restrictions to rectify first, facilitating a better service for customers.
The SPRINT tool allows for efficient information sharing across the industry, creating a common language and ensuring speed restrictions receive proportionate attention. It also identifies actions for individual speed restrictions and allows asset maintainers to take ownership of the whole lifecycle. This creates confidence and transparency in the handling of speed restrictions across the industry.
For the first time, SPRINT allowed asset maintainers to prove a clear link between each speed restriction and passenger impact, accurately identifying delays which may have a disproportionate impact on the network. This allows NR to deploy resources effectively, creating a clear business case for prioritising maintenance work and minimising time spent working in dangerous environments. SPRINT also creates a consistent national picture, allowing for transparency and best practice sharing across the industry.
To deliver SPRINT, Amey identified and brought together a multi-disciplinary team of operational rail analysts, data scientists and change managers. These skills allowed us to understand the context of the change required along with the associated technical requirements and statistical approaches. We also engaged subject matter experts to map processes and identify areas that could be improved through through automation, working closely with central performance teams to develop metrics that would be accepted across the industry.
The team iteratively created wireframes, testing them with key stakeholders to ascertain critical information needed for decision-making. The visually engaging design was user-focused, prioritising ease of navigation and understanding.
- Better prioritisation of work on speed restrictions delivers significant cost and efficiency savings as well as improving punctuality and customer experience.
- Speed restrictions cost around £1.2 million each week and half have been in place for more than two months. On average, lifting a restriction one week early will save of £5,000.
- Delay attribution validation: A recent comparison of delay attribution on 38 active speed restrictions identified 31,000 minutes that were being over-reported. Assuming only three speeds were incorrectly networked, there is a potential saving of £245,000.
- The Amey SPRINT solution also delivered significant savings on the previous manual reporting method. Using SPRINT saves each NR route between 1 – 3 days of manual work per reporting period. This equates to around 72 days of time saved across NR and train operating companies.