Q&A with Cohesive’s Rennie Chadwick: Unlocking the Power of Data

Posted: 16 August 2023 | , | No comments yet

Global Railway Review’s new editor, Elizabeth Jordan, spoke to Rennie Chadwick, Director of Transportation at Cohesive about the importance of adopting data-driven decision-making and what it could mean for the rail industry.

How important is data to the Railway Industry?

In the rapidly evolving world of technology, data plays a pivotal role in shaping decisions across diverse industries. The railway sector is no exception, embracing data-driven strategies to enhance operations, ensure passenger safety, and deliver top-notch services. At Cohesive, we believe that data-driven decision-making is the key to creating an efficient and reliable railway system that exceeds expectations.

Data-driven decision-making empowers organisations to base their choices on objective information from reliable sources rather than intuition or past experiences. This approach allows decision-makers to uncover valuable patterns, trends, and insights, leading to more informed and effective strategies.

What kind of decisions can be made using data?

There are many different decisions the rail industry can make off the back of collected data. By embracing data-driven practices, railways can transform the way they operate, making travel safer, more efficient, and passenger-centric. Key areas where data has brought about remarkable changes include Timetable Optimisation, Elevated Customer Experience, Enhanced Safety and Predictive Maintenance.

Do you have any examples of ways railways can adapt the way they operate?

Collecting and analysing data from sensors and monitoring systems on trains and tracks enables railway operators to predict and prevent equipment failures proactively, creating cohesive Predictive Maintenance plans. This approach reduces unexpected breakdowns, minimizes service disruptions, and saves substantial costs in the long run.

While data analysis in terms of Timetable Optimisation empowers railways to optimize their schedules based on historical travel patterns, passenger demand, and other factors. This ensures trains run at the right times and frequencies, maximizing efficiency and minimizing delays.

With Data-driven technologies, such as train collision avoidance systems and real-time track monitoring, having significantly improved railway safety, Enhanced Safety plans can be implemented.  These systems will provide timely alerts, enabling operators to take immediate action and prevent accidents.

Elevated Customer Experience: Data analysis helps railways gain deep insights into customers’ preferences, needs, and behaviours. This invaluable information allows for the design of personalized services, improved station facilities, and tailored passenger experiences, leading to higher satisfaction levels.

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What are the possible challenges to overcome when implementing data-driven decisions?

While data-driven decisions offer tremendous benefits, there are challenges to overcome for their successful implementation. Firstly, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of data is crucial for making informed decisions. Railway operators must prioritize the collection, storage, and analysis of high-quality data from various sources.

Next, as railways gather substantial amounts of passenger and operational data, safeguarding privacy and preventing data breaches becomes paramount. Implementing robust security measures and adhering to data protection regulations is essential.

Data-driven decision-making also demands a workforce with the necessary skills to collect, analyse, and interpret data. Investing in training programs and hiring data experts is vital for successful implementation.

What are the long-term goals achievable by adopting data-driven decisions?

By embracing data-driven decision-making, the railway industry can elevate its efficiency, enhance safety measures, and exceed passenger expectations. Harnessing the power of data allows railways to optimize operations, make proactive decisions, and provide services that align perfectly with the evolving needs of passengers. As technology continues to advance, data’s role in driving railways forward will only become more significant.

At Cohesive, we are committed to helping railways unlock the potential of data-driven decision-making. Discover how our innovative solutions can revolutionize your railway experience for the better by booking a Value + Workshop with Cohesive. you to scope out the challenges and complexity around your physical assets.


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