The rail industry invests significant amounts of time and money in driver training and in demonstrating driver competence through assessments, including manual analysis of data from On-Train Data Recorders (OTDR). OTDR data can also be used in investigating operational incidents such as signals passed at danger (SPADs), stop shorts, station overruns and wrong side door releases.
These activities, which are typically incorporated into a competence management system can be time-consuming to monitor, and therefore incur substantial cost. Additionally, there is presently no agreed industry approach to demonstrating the efficacy of competence management systems in an objective manner. Under the Strategic Partnership established with University of Huddersfield (UOH), a project was carried out to investigate the feasibility of developing of a range of Automated Driver Competency Indicators (ADCIs) based on the automatic analysis of OTDR data.
The results of the project were presented at an industry workshop in October 2016, which was jointly hosted by RSSB and UOH and attended by a wide range of industry stakeholders. The general conclusion was that it is possible to derive ADCIs from OTDR data that have the potential to support driver performance management, and a number of preferred metrics were identified. Potential benefits of ADCIs identified included:
1. Reducing the time taken for driver managers to manually check OTDR data, and the potential to reduce costs in doing so.
2. Improved visibility and frequency of driver performance
3. Having more objectivity, and consistency to assessment of driver performance
4. Capturing data over time, allowing monitoring of trends and precursors
5. Providing drivers with timely feedback on their performance
6. Allowing better targeting of competence management focussing on those drivers in need of support
Following the workshop, the project and its outcomes were discussed at the cross-industry Data & Risk Strategy Group (DRSG), in September 2017. DRSG recommended that a ‘demonstrator project’ be carried forward to implementation, in close partnership with a TOC, and involving suppliers and other relevant areas expertise as appropriate.
The current specification outlines the proposed way forward for this ‘demonstrator project’.
This project aims to develop, trial and demonstrate value from a tool to assist Train Operating Companies (TOCs) with driver competence support and management. To achieve the benefits from the tool, it is important for the ADCIs developed to be guided by the end users – the Train Operating Companies. It is for this reason that RSSB are partnering with both c2c and London North Eastern Railway (LNER), who have agreed to share their data and support the development of the ADCIs through guidance and feedback.