The cost and scale of metro development requires a strategic approach, mitigating risks and supporting metro service throughout its lifespan. The approach that can best respond to this multifaceted challenge is asset management.
The latest UITP Knowledge Brief, ‘Strategic asset management for safer, more efficient and sustainable metros’, sets out a strategy for the design and operation of metro systems. Because of the different life cycles for each metro asset, high maintenance costs, and importance of risk mitigation, a structured asset management approach is necessary to optimise performance and incorporate sustainability goals into daily operation.
New international standards
While the practice of asset management long predates metro systems, a series of new international standards have been developed to ensure a consistent approach. In particular, ISO 55000, launched in 2014, provides an overview of the subject of asset management, sets out specific requirements, and offers guidance for implementation of this system.
MTR Hong Kong is a paradigmatic example of the success of a structured asset management approach. Since 2015, Hong Kong’s transport system has been ISO 55000 certified, resulting in enhanced performance and a more sustainable network. By mapping individual performance goals for each asset, and taking a daily measurement of actual performance, MTR has seen the mean distance between failures for the rolling stock fleet increase by a factor of eight.
Digitalisation is also a driving factor of new asset management methodologies. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a new methodology that allows for digital representation of assets, and can be used as a shared knowledge resource for asset life cycles. BIM is being used by various infrastructure projects, such as London’s Crossrail, to help reduce costs and manage operations.
The challenge of this approach is adapting a broad set of asset management protocols to the specificities of metro networks, which have characteristics that must be accounted for (such as high safety requirements, long-lasting assets, and in-line production constraints). The Knowledge Brief offers a series of recommendations to help metro companies optimise their asset management strategy, including a detailed life cycle approach, and risk management plan.
UITP’s Metro Committee advocates for the implementation of a structured asset management approach to the design and operation of metros. This strategy not only helps to deliver safer and more efficient metros, but can also contribute to decarbonisation through enhanced sustainability.