The second milestone was marked on 19 May 2009 at the Benchmark Workshop, organised at UIC HQ, after the first workshop in May 2008.
The workshop was opened by Mr Hansjörg Hess, Platform Vice-Chairman, and animated by Mr Paolo De Cicco of UIC. It was a full day dedicated to discuss and analyse data and to take decisions on the study finalisation and the way forward in 2010.
The ERTMS Benchmark work group, made of CER, EIM and UIC active members, has worked for one and a half years on two complementary fields: to set and agree a uniform costing methodology and to collect actual ERTMS implementation data. The lack of a uniform costing methodology is often considered a weakness of economic evaluations that hinders the interpretation and comparison of studies. Standardisation is therefore an important topic within the methodology of economic evaluations. The Benchmark study is the unique economic study developed on ERTMS implementations based on actual cost figures given by railway members. A considerable volume of implementation cost figures has been gathered from the field; it encompasses about 900 km of implementations of ERTMS/ETCS lev. 1 and 500 km ERTMS/ETCS lev. 2, from the infrastructure side and about 220 OBUs from rolling stock side.
The study started in March 2008 to support the railway community to understand ERTMS cost drivers in order to lower the overall LCC ERTMS costs.
About 20 work group members and experts actively contributed to the discussions on the following items:
• Retrospective analysis of the work group organisation and work methods.
• Adoption of the ERTMS Signalling Equivalent Unit concept, elaborated with a core team of railways in order to facilitate the comparability of data from different implementation projects.
• Exchange of information on the case studies implemented.
• Content definition and level of dissemination of the benchmark final report.
• Planning of the group activities in 2010. Strategic subjects to be focused on in the future.
No doubts on the importance of the benchmark activities, which will lead the railway community to get a good understanding of ERTMS cost drivers and a better position vis-à-vis our industrial partners. The major decisions taken at the workshop are reported below.
While discussing, for the first time, case studies cost figures all together (investments, operating and LCC), it was immediately apparent that rough figures collected have to be harmonised in order to give average values consistent meanings. Decision was taken to concentrate efforts in order to harmonise rough data.
SEU concepts were discussed in detail, trying to identify a good model to be applied to the benchmark study in order to adopt better cost comparison parameters than the classical “cost per km”, currently in use. Decision was taken to further discuss the matter in the future.
Different quality of details has been shown by the cost analysis; in some cases “disposal and operating costs” were not available. It was felt that that could hamper a complete analysis on LCC. Decision was taken to deal with this item at harmonisation meetings in order to overcome this difficulty.
The cost model agreed by the work group and used for all case studies has the ambition to become a standard document to support future tender processes for ERTMS implementation projects. A similar document: “Draft common template for call for offers - ERTMS/ETCS” has been elaborated and already used in Romania and Slovenia procurements. It was decided to harmonise and cross-reference the two documents.
In order to better identify the future activity areas, the work group wants to focus on, an evaluation list was established and presented. All participants were asked to rank 13 activities in order of their strategic importance and their difficulty of implementation.
The following portfolio presents an overall vision of the activities identified by the work group going from the most strategic (right hand side) to the most strategic and difficult (on top, right hand side).
The Benchmark group is working full steam in order to deliver the final benchmark report in June/July 09 followed by a dissemination workshop in late autumn. Firm decision was taken to continue the implementation data collection in 2010 extended also to non-European countries.
The costs of this new European ATC system are key factors in facilitating the migration and implementation throughout Europe. Sharing and comparing information on costs will enable the railway community to understand cost drivers and achieve future cost reductions. The objective is not to collect and analyse data from the railways in order to identify the “star pupil”! Rather, the ultimate aim is to draw preliminary conclusions from these comparisons in order to better understand the causes of specific cost situations and discuss future technological and economic improvements.