Benchmarking is a structured approach used to identify actions that lead to superior performance. The benchmarking process used by ISBeRG provides opportunities for:
- Cost savings achieved though the spread of best practices and more informed procurement decisions
- Identifying areas for operational improvement
- Best practice transfer and implementation
- Structured information exchange and networking – through focused visits and expert groups
- Informed dialogue with stakeholders
- Setting performance targets which are challenging, but realistic, supported by internationally comparable Key Performance Indicators
- Process improvements – identified though case studies
Experience of Benchmarking at the Railway and Transport Strategy Centre at Imperial College London
The RTSC at Imperial College London has 19 years of experience in benchmarking for railways and urban transport operators. This experience has been highly advantageous for the development of ISBeRG.
The Community of Metros (CoMET) was founded in 1994 and now comprises 15 large metros from around the world, including Paris Metro and RER, Metro São Paulo, Moscow Metro, Hong Kong MTR, New York City Subway, Beijing Subway, and London Underground.
The success of CoMET led to the establishment of the Nova Benchmarking Group in 1997 for small to medium-sized metros. Nova now comprises 14 members including Singapore SMRT, Delhi Metro, Toronto TTC, Barcelona TMB, Buenos Aires Metrovias, Brussels Metro, and Metro Rio.
In 2003, London Buses and Montreal STM asked Imperial College London to establish a bus benchmarking group along the lines of CoMET and Nova. This group is now in its eighth year, demonstrating that the benchmarking framework developed for CoMET and Nova and responsible for their continued success can also be successfully applied to other transport modes.
These refined, transferable benchmarking techniques and supporting processes developed over the years by the RTSC at Imperial College London have been applied as a template and framework for the Suburban Rail Benchmarking Group. However, benchmarking activities and methodologies have been adapted and focused over the course of the group’s development such that they are most applicable to the complexities of suburban rail operations.