Reliability and Crowding Defining and Measuring Quality in Passenger Rail Services
TERZIS G, MVA, UK
Following the publication of the Planning Criteria: A Guide to the Appraisal of Support for Passenger Rail Services in May 1999 in the UK the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority (SSRA) commissioned a number of projects with the aim of defining and valuing qua
Following the publication of the Planning Criteria: A Guide to the Appraisal of Support for Passenger Rail Services in May 1999 in the UK the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority (SSRA) commissioned a number of projects with the aim of defining and valuing quality improvements in rail services. The SSRA (currently existing in 'shadow' form until the legislative completion of the Railways Bill in the British Parliament) is charged with promoting the use of railways, securing rail development and contributing to integrated transport. The new body has subsumed the functions of the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising and British Rail Board but also has a far wider remit of strategic planning and investment and the duty to develop a vision to promote a growing rail industry.
Performance improvements are key issues in investment appraisal and in franchise replacement, a process due to start this Spdng. This paper reports the results of two studies defining and measuring reliability and crowding improvements with emphasis on commuting markets in the South East England and inter-city flows to London. On-time arrival has consistently been rated as the highest priority attribute by rail passengers and is the cornerstone of performance grading of Train Operating Companies leading to incentive payments and penalties. Crowding has also been rated as one of the most important quality attributes by rail passengers and is a key issue in investment appraisal.
Both studies include qualitative research, stated preference market research to derive monetary valuations, internal and external validation (including against revealed preference results) and application in terms of implementation and monitoring of performance. Over 2000 quantitative surveys are planned with customers of a variety of Train Operating Companies sampled on trains and currently experiencing different levels of reliability and crowding (including at high load factors where many passengers are forced to stand). They will capture variations in valuations of quality improvements both geographically and by market segment.
SSRA would wish to use the results of the studies to provide guidance to rail schemes promoters and bidders such as local authorities and Train Operating Companies. It is also the intention to use the results to inform policy on the performance regime and in strategi c appraisal. This paper will provide an overview of the findings including recommendations for project appraisal.
Association for European Transport