Comment

29.01.19

RICS: Unlocking rail's data potential

Source: RTM Dec/Jan 19

Anil Sawhney, director of the infrastructure sector for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), discusses standardising data to meet the rail industry’s future challenges of an urbanised Britain.

Ongoing delays that result in service disruption, combined with annual fare increases, has resulted in continued scrutiny for UK rail. Improvements and modernisation of the sector can, however, serve as an opportunity to showcase the management of large-scale infrastructure delivery. Ultimately, its success will be dependent on the ease of connectivity and interconnectedness with other sectors.

By 2080 it is projected that 85% of the world’s population will live in cities; in 1980 that figure was only 25%. This growth in urbanisation will increase demand on transport. The role of technology will continue to serve to impact the sector, as has been the case in all modes of life. Currently, UK rail is fragmented and suffers from a limited alignment of systems, data and processes, fragmented knowledge sharing, and limited data management.

With technology, particularly data, becoming more prevalent, compatibility issues have inevitably arisen in the absence of a common framework in the data held by rail sector stakeholders.

An agreed and consistent standard of data management needs to be approved in the built environment, particularly in the reporting of rail project costs. Such standardisation will ensure project cost data is no longer fragmented, thereby facilitating systematic comparison and benchmarking of projects and assets at a regional, national, and international level.

RICS has long championed the need to standardise data across the built environment, with the objective of reducing project times and costs.

In response to the challenges faced, particularly in infrastructure projects, RICS launched International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) in 2017 as part of a coalition to bring clarity, consistency, and transparency to construction and infrastructure projects worldwide. This will also help businesses, investors, and government make informed decisions based on reported live data forecasts.

This need for standardisation is echoed in the DfT’s Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy, which identifies seven core challenges to deliver efficiencies. Three challenges in particular play to the strength of RICS, highlighting the need for the creation of a transport infrastructure performance benchmarking forum (to share best practice and innovation); establishing a common approach (to estimating to improve cost confidence and assurance); and exploiting digital technologies and standardising our assets (to enable the adoption of best practice from the manufacturing sector).

To ensure professionals and organisations are equipped to meet the challenges of urbanisation and ageing infrastructure, RICS, in collaboration with international partners, has developed a suite of data standards in parallel with ICMS to ensure the quality and consistency of data is accurate.

Furthermore, the ongoing development of our existing data platform, BCIS, will support different types of data and different reporting structures in order to capture data from all stages of a project lifecycle and to utilise the latest data technologies, including data analysis powered by artificial intelligence, machine-based learning, and blockchain.

Vast possibilities for UK rail can be unlocked with the accurate management of data, which will ease its current fragmentation. There are also clear benefits that can be realised by investors considering the rail sector as an area for investment. The management of data and implementation of ICMS is best with the expertise of a chartered surveyor, who benefits the whole lifecycle of a project. From early cost advice, accurate cost predictions, improved cost management, mitigating risk, benchmarking data through comparability, and valuing assets, the expertise of a chartered surveyor can help retain confidence in large scale projects.

Like any sector, UK rail needs to modernise to meet its future demands. To achieve this, a number of steps need to be taken – one being the implementation of globally agreed standards.

 

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Year with brand-new infrastructrure to... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey’s commercial account director, Anna Delvecchio, for her insight into what the Rail Sector Deal means for the rail industry and its supply chain. Anna started her career as an apprentice at the age o... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

By Ewan Quayle, Rail Technology Magazine Reporter Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on R... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in ... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >