How do you define a good timetable? The use of data to inform timetable development was the topic of a Golden Whistles conference presentation from Ian Smith and Fergus Curran of Tracsis Transport Consultancy.
The key question to ask at the outset is: what do you want from a timetable? The design of a timetable should be driven by the outputs required of it – this should be the requirements of customers. Key to this is data and information – the starting point should not be to say that a service of three trains per hour (for example) is needed, but to ask what demand is and what level of service is required to meet this. Mr Smith and Mr Curran outlined the need for success criteria, a rule set that can be used during timetable development and delivery to measure the success and failure of the train plan to support the needs of the customer. The rules might contain passenger numbers, freight arrival and departure windows, or even customer facilities.