Comprehensive measures to improve punctuality
Better management in high-traffic corridors and hubs
We have been using the plan corridors control tool since the previous year on particularly high-traffic routes to improve management of the delays that are being built up. The first plan corridor was launched between Cologne and Dortmund. In addition to the West pilot corridor (Dortmund — Cologne), the Central corridor (Fulda — Mannheim) was put into action in the year under review. The completion of the South (Würzburg — Nuremberg) and North (Hamburg and Hamburg feeder lines) plan corridors was brought forward in the year under review.
In addition, we are investing in plan corridors to make them more resilient to disruptions, including equipping switches more quickly with special key components and the DIANA diagnostics system. We are also spending more money on cutting back vegetation at specific locations as well as extra machines. At the same time, we are employing over 100 employees to carry out maintenance in the corridors.
Centers for better construction management and improved punctuality
The Construction Management Center was set up in the Infrastructure Board division to keep the number of rail transport restrictions as low as possible despite the extensive construction work. As a result, we were able to forecast the impacts of construction more precisely, develop countermeasures and reduce delays. Thanks to the improved management of construction sites, operational disruptions caused by construction decreased by 40% compared to 2015, while there was an increase by 31% in construction volume and an increase by 3,5% in traffic volume. Record capital expenditures made as part of the Strong Rail strategy will make it all the more important to reconcile capacity demand with essential construction works.
The Punctuality Management Center, which was also set up in the Infrastructure Board division, is responsible for developing and implementing measures across business units to take short-term actions to make up for the targets missed during the year. In the year under review, the management center focused a large part of its efforts on implementing and further developing PlanRadar, a universal early warning system for punctuality-related plans and operational processes. As part of PlanRadar, parameters, such as infrastructure restrictions and line capacity, vehicle availability, quality of delivery and critical construction measures, are analyzed in advance and countermeasures are developed and implemented. It particularly focuses on how regional construction measures and other infrastructure restrictions, which have reciprocal effects due to long train routes in passenger and freight transport, interact on a national level. PlanRadar has become a platform that spans regions and business units and enables decisions to be made quickly in the interests of our customers.
Furthermore, the management center is supporting regional DB Netze Track operations and maintenance sites with an on-site project team to reduce the occurrence of faults and delays. This support focuses on sites with the highest occurrence of delays. The first measures were implemented in the year under review in Mainz and Cologne.
Integrated quality planning
Quality planning enables us to place customers’ rights at the heart of what we do. In doing so, quality targets for the top key figures, such as punctuality and customer satisfaction by business unit, are reconciled with financial planning,
strategy and Group projects, such as integrated capacity management. These targets are obligatory for the mid-term period. The business units develop measures to meet these set quality targets and ensure that the measures are financed and implemented through quality planning. For the first time, punctuality is being forecast for all TOCs using a simulation. The benefits of this include estimating with greater accuracy the impact of increased traffic volumes and measures to improve punctuality and enabling key issues to be deduced for management during the business year.
In recent years, extreme weather events have increased significantly, impacting our operational processes and punctuality. That is why we are using a more advanced vegetation management that takes into account climate developments in particular. In addition to the tried-and-tested six-meter clearance zone on both sides of the tracks, this plan also includes removing specific trees at risk of storm damage in areas further down the line. We are also encouraging the growth of resilient types of vegetation that are suitable to the location. The objective is to cultivate wooded areas on DB land through forestry management so that they become significantly more resilient in the face of extreme weather conditions. This approach was further developed in the year under review. Other measures include thoroughly inspecting all tree populations along the entire rail network by the end of 2022. They should be stabilized as trees will subsequently be removed or receive support to grow.