The 10-year plan aims to increase rail passenger numbers by delivering a high quality, reliable and efficient railway network. The Department is also working to develop a stronger customer focus, improved punctuality, increased capacity, reduced overcrowding, growth in freight and enhanced safety throughout the industry. Following re-organisation, the Department and the rail industry are developing further arrangements to ensure effective evidence to inform policy and operational decisions.
The rail research programme aims to improve the evidence base for the immediate key rail policy objectives and to underpin the understanding of the perceptions of rail, the barriers to performance, risk aversion in the rail industry and modelling needs for rail's environmental impacts.
The transport policy context and organisation are indicated by the programme's single sub-theme:
Rail Performance Improvement: This programme has been developed by the cross-Government and rail industry Performance Improvement Team. Its role is to acquire a better understanding of, and help with, improving passenger rail performance. The team have mapped out a number of workstreams to develop tools and processes to provide periodic performance projections for National Rail with increasing accuracy; expand the understanding of what causes poor performance so that well-targeted actions can be taken; and ensure that future operational and policy decisions are based on a firm evidence base.
Examples of projects within this programme include:
Route (Rail) Performance Prediction - Railway Research Strategy Co-ordinator - Scoping study for ASPEX - a new survey of rail users and potential users - Establishment of the British Transport Police Authority - Revision of the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) - Manchester Metrolink Light Rail Network Exemption Order - Railway Safety Accreditation Scheme - Creating a regulatory board for railways - Consultation on EC Second Railway Package - Passenger rail franchising.