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Dr Aidan Slingsby presents data visualisation work to UK Rail Minister

Dr Slingsby's project, carried out in association with consultancies, Risk Solutions, Steer, Tracsis, Heriot Watt University and the University of Southampton for the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) is aimed at improving rail services for passengers using Great Western Railway (GWR).
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

Data visualisation work carried out by the giCentre’s Dr Aidan Slingsby as part of a year-long contract to consider knock-on train delays was recently presented to UK Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris.

201127Dr Slingsby's project, carried out in association with consultancies, Risk Solutions, Steer, Tracsis, Heriot Watt University and the University of Southampton for the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), is also aimed improving rail services for passengers using Great Western Railway (GWR).

The railway industry collects information about the initial incidents that cause delay (primary delay) to help improve the performance of rail services and keep passengers informed.

Interactive techniques

Though the number of primary delays has remained stable over recent years (300-350k minutes per year), the delay caused by an initial incident often cascades through the rail network, causing reactionary delay; this has steadily grown over recent years (from 600k to 800k mins). This is proving difficult to understand and control.

The project demonstrates the value of using an agent-based model, combined with powerful interactive visualisation techniques, to reveal insights about the common factors that cause and contribute to reactionary delay. The objective is to develop and test a tool that can be used to find the most effective interventions and contingency plans to control and recover from delay, and improve network performance.

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