1 December 2017
In June 2017, infrastructure manager ProRail and some 40 rail companies launched the information, communication and collaboration platform SpoorWeb. In addition to the registration of incident reports and alerts from the parties involved, the handling of incidents and the associated logistical arrangements now also takes place through the system. Consequently, the rail sector can now respond to and prevent disruptions much faster and more effectively.
Safe, on time
As infrastructure manager, ProRail plays a central role in responding to thousands of disruptions per year. To deal with all of these disruptions quickly and adequately and to get the trains running again as soon as possible, good collaboration with chain partners, such as rail companies and emergency services, is crucial. Also when providing clear communication about incidents to passengers, local residents and the media, the efficient exchange of information is a must.
SpoorWeb: key to success
The key to all this lies in SpoorWeb, an innovative information, communication and collaboration platform, developed by ProRail, Geodan and Qognify. Vera Bánki, Business Manager Incident and Crisis Management at Geodan: ‘We began the first phase of the project back in 2014 with Meldkamer Spoor, a smart digital intake form for incident registration. Since then, SpoorWeb has grown into a netcentric incident management system and more, that is now being used across the sector and throughout the country.’
‘SpoorWeb is structured where possible, and flexible where necessary’
SpoorWeb is the result of a unique partnership between ProRail, Geodan and Oognify. ‘The platform enables efficient collaboration across organizations’, explains Vera. ‘The activities of all parties in the areas of, for example logistics, passenger information or asset management, can now be conducted in parallel. That saves a huge amount of time.’ Vera: ‘The platform also ensures that users work can follow well-prepared standard procedures when handling incidents for as long as possible. But where the situation requires it, they also have the option to diverge from these procedures. SpoorWeb is structured where possible, and flexible where necessary. And that is unique for an incident and crisis management system. I am proud that the platform now operates at the heart of one of ProRail’s most important processes, and that it is used every day in some 500 operational work places.’
‘With the common operational picture, all parties involved in the chain now know what their role is and what is expected from them.’
No central management
‘Before SpoorWeb, the sector used a combination of separate, partly outdated information and communication tools’, explains Martijn van der Weide, specification owner SpoorWeb Incident Response ProRail. ‘Colleagues and rail companies issued updates on the disruption and the measures taken as they saw fit. They recorded information in different ways and at different times. Tasks and responsibilities were not always clear, and because everyone worked with different screens, centralized control was problematic.’
‘The country-wide implementation of SpoorWeb is therefore a quantum leap forward for all those involved’, says Martijn. ‘Because we now record every piece of information about the incidents digitally, we can work together in a much more structured, thorough and disciplined way. And that means getting far more work done in a shorter time.’
A common operational picture
With a common operational picture that arises on the basis of the shared information in SpoorWeb, everyone is fully informed of the status and progress of the incident response. Martijn: ‘All parties involved in the chain know what their role is and what is expected of them. Safety Region employees are also impressed with SpoorWeb. It is not uncommon for the police or fire service to consult the tablet of the Rail Duty Officer at the scene for the latest information about an incident.’
‘Not only did the contractor arrive at the scene quickly; he also had the right equipment with him straight away.’
‘Each and every day, the platform proves how much faster we can now take the necessary actions when handling incidents’, continues Martijn. ‘Yesterday, for instance, with a report of a signalling points failure: via SpoorWeb a contractor was immediately mobilized, but it turned out that the wrong location had been entered during the intake. Fortunately, the Rail Duty Officer at the scene could immediately correct the mistake via his tablet. What’s more, he shared important, additional information about the disruption with all the stakeholders. As a result, not only did the contractor arrive at the scene quickly; he also had the right equipment with him to rectify the problem’.
With the data in SpoorWeb, ProRail and its partners in the chain are also able to prevent incidents. Martijn: ‘Because we now know, for instance, the locations where people frequently trespass on the railway line, we can approach them proactively, and where necessary issue a fine. Reports and analyses are also generated by SpoorWeb, which again lead to improvements in the procedures and functionality of the platform.’
View of the future
SpoorWeb is continuously being developed. ‘Every day we consider how we can make SpoorWeb even better, based on new insights’, says Vera. ‘Through agile methods, the teams can quickly anticipate new situations and are able to deliver relevant releases frequently.’ Martijn: ‘In the short term, the platform will be further enhanced with footage/images of the incident. And we are working on new functionalities, such as customized alerts for our incident responders. Currently they still depart from one of our bases in the various regions, but in the future, we will be able to determine through location which employee is closest to the incident. These are all developments which will further contribute towards increasing the safety and punctuality of the Dutch rail network.’
SpoorWeb consists of the incident management solution by Geodan, based on Situator by Oognify. SpoorWeb integrates with the existing Esri ArcGIS infrastructure and many other ProRail information systems.