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Commuter rail service reliability : On-time performance and causes for delays Nelson, David ; O'Neil, Kay

By: Nelson, DavidContributor(s): O'Neil, KayPublication details: Transportation Research Record, 2000Description: nr 1704, s. 42-50Subject(s): USA | Rail bound transport | | Journey to work | Cause | Delay | | | Hour | Weekday | Variability | J04Bibl.nr: VTI P8167:1704Location: Abstract: Service reliability is a key commuter rail performance indicator. All agencies calculate on-time performance statistics daily and publish periodic reports concerning trends in on-time performance. Most agencies also code their delays by cause. Information on causes and patterns of delay, however, are not widely distributed. Yet, information on the causes of unreliable service is important to commuter rail planners and operators as they seek to improve the reliability of new and existing services. The patterns and causes of delay for U.S. commuter rail systems are presented for a geographically diverse sample of six commuter rail properties, operating push-pull commuter services in seven different states. Information is provided across systems to develop general parameters for why trains are late. Variations in service reliability are reported by day of week and time of day. The reliability of short lines relative to longer services is compared. Causes for delays are evaluated, including engineering and mechanical malfunctions, programmed track work, transportation crew failures, passenger-related issues, weather, and cascades. The information is useful in determining the range of on-time performance values that might be expected of new services. It is also useful for benchmarking existing services against the general performance of a diverse set of peer services.
Item type: Reports, conferences, monographs
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Service reliability is a key commuter rail performance indicator. All agencies calculate on-time performance statistics daily and publish periodic reports concerning trends in on-time performance. Most agencies also code their delays by cause. Information on causes and patterns of delay, however, are not widely distributed. Yet, information on the causes of unreliable service is important to commuter rail planners and operators as they seek to improve the reliability of new and existing services. The patterns and causes of delay for U.S. commuter rail systems are presented for a geographically diverse sample of six commuter rail properties, operating push-pull commuter services in seven different states. Information is provided across systems to develop general parameters for why trains are late. Variations in service reliability are reported by day of week and time of day. The reliability of short lines relative to longer services is compared. Causes for delays are evaluated, including engineering and mechanical malfunctions, programmed track work, transportation crew failures, passenger-related issues, weather, and cascades. The information is useful in determining the range of on-time performance values that might be expected of new services. It is also useful for benchmarking existing services against the general performance of a diverse set of peer services.

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