Passenger-Focused Management Approach to Measurement of Train Delay Impacts

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, operations - performance, operations - reliability, organisation - performance, planning - public consultation, planning - service improvement


transit service realiability, incident response, strategic investment, customer satisfaction, passenger-focused approach


Train delay incidents have major effects on transit service reliability and on customer satisfaction. Operators have long focused efforts on preventing such incidents. While this action is important, the fact that all transit operations inevitably face some degree of delay and disruption from incidents means that operators must also dedicate attention to reducing the duration of incidents and the time to restore normal operations after incidents occur. To be able to do this, it is necessary to measure the total impact of incidents on train service and customers. This research uses data from the CoMET and Nova metro benchmarking groups to investigate the ways in which transit operators can better measure the full effects of incidents on train service and customers. The key benefit of such a passenger-focused approach is that it enables transit managers to direct resources for incident response and recovery better, as well as support the case for strategic investments. This research has shown that most operators measure and report only the frequency of incidents. Of the 22 metros interviewed, only two were able to provide detailed data to estimate the number of passengers affected by incidents. It is no coincidence that the only two metros able to provide detailed data are in fact two of the most reliable in the group.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.