Assessing and improving infrastructure management requires a system view

The Platform of Rail Infrastructure Managers in Europe (PRIME) published its 2017 KPI report on 14 May 2019 and the report has been commented in European media. Other reports allowing to compare railways are the Rail Market Monitoring report and the 2018 Eurobarometer Survey on passenger satisfaction.

PRIME would like to recall  that each organisation comes with its own history, different governance and financing models. Therefore, there is no single measure of success or simplified ranking that could do justice to these different circumstances. 
Especially for passenger train punctuality, the results depend on interplay of many factors. European rail infrastructure managers use different observing points and rounding rules for measuring punctuality. For that reason, as flagged in the report, punctuality measurements are not always fully comparable from one infrastructure manager to another. Further work is currently being undertaken by European rail infrastructure managers to collect punctuality data according to a common PRIME definition, in order to make the measure of punctuality more comparable across the peer group. 

Putting aside differences of definitions, there are specific reasons why rail services may differ from one country to another. These include the existence of rail bottlenecks, the density of trains, the age of the rail network or rolling stock, the amount of ongoing works, investment, weather conditions, etc. Having this complexity in mind, PRIME is currently undertaking an in-depth analysis to better assess the drivers of punctuality.
 Developing infrastructure management which provides ever  higher quality services - as expected by operators, passengers and freight companies - is a long term process requiring positive commitment and cooperation from the sector. This is PRIME’s raison d’être.