Incident Management for the Unexpected

How operators respond to the unexpected is becoming more and more important in the customer-focused public transport sector for companies to strengthen their brand.

Incident management solution dealing with the unexpected

In unexpected cases, an efficient incident and crisis management solution is a means of helping them maximise service continuity and deliver journey experiences that ensure customers come back for more, and tell others to do the same.

Yet when these events occur, an efficient incident management solution can really make the difference. It puts operators in a position to communicate information to the relevant parties and trigger the right processes, thus ensuring the necessary steps are taken to revert to normal operations as soon as possible.

Disruptions to normal service are inevitable for all operators, no matter how efficient their overall performance. Signalling or power failures, or the UK’s infamous ‘leaves on the track’ moments for example, may cause ‘minor delays’. And then there are emergency situations such as a bomb alert, where passenger safety is at risk.

Decision-making, communication and workflows

Most, if not all operators already have processes and technologies in place to tackle the more extreme end of the scale.

Such processes, providing a minimum set of steps to resolve a serious incident, typically involve an initial report, alerting resources, hazardous substances, informing, updating incident data, and documentation. On the technology side, web technology apps are used at data centres, both in the Cloud and on mobile units. These apps may use any communication technologies such as SMS, email, Skype, and Twitter.

“Furthermore, in most countries, regulatory bodies require proof that providers are ready for worst-case scenarios such as heavy earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear issues at power plants,” adds Christian Stimakovits, domain sales manager at Frequentis Group.

However, when less dramatic situations like signalling, track or rolling stock failures do occur, a lack of coping systems and mechanisms risks disappointing customers, whose expectations, let’s not forget, are always on the rise.

“In general, the main issues in such cases are insufficient resources and inadequate compliance with the operator’s internal guidelines,” says Mr Stimakovits. “Also, a lack of clear operational models and agreed principles between all the parties involved, i.e. critical infrastructure providers, public authorities, the police, ambulance and fire-fighting services, internal departments at railway companies, and specialist institutes.”

To meet this challenge, operators need to correlate data from a growing number of operational systems and make sense of it at sufficient speed to respond effectively, either to handle incidents when underway, prevent, predict or flag them up.

Frequentis believes that solutions in the field of incident management should be based around decision-making, communication, and workflows.

Integration and capabilities

Prompt restoration of normal services after an incident depends on having a highly integrated platform with the following capabilities:

Rapid identification and shared situational awareness

Public transport operators need to understand the ‘what’, ‘where’, and ‘when’ of every potential incident as soon as possible, through an incident management solution that is seamlessly integrated with other upstream and downstream systems.

It is vital to create shared situational awareness through technology that gathers and disseminates information between all the internal and external parties concerned, including tailored updates to end-customers

Defining workflows

For operators to work effectively, they must be equipped with dynamic resolution workflows. To support collaborative workflows and smooth cooperation, the management system should automatically identify responsible parties based on the type of incident and stage reached in the resolution workflow.

Distribution of streamlined information

An effective solution automatically streamlines information and alerts, tailoring them to the needs of each party and communicating them across the most appropriate channels. By so doing, operators can help responders and other parties focus on the most important issues at each stage, from detection through to resolution, and keep customers in the real-time information loop throughout.

Prompt restoration of normal services after an incident depends on having a highly integrated platform with the following capabilities:

Rigorous documentation and post-incident summaries

An effective solution also saves a clear record of all relevant activities in a comprehensive incident case file, automatically capturing and archiving information without requiring operator input.

The incident management solution must automatically generate a single post-incident summary suitable for audit purposes and compliant with the relevant regulatory and legislative frameworks

Why does Incident Management by Frequentis stand out:

  • highly flexible product base tailored by and for the customer
  • customisation at any time
  • setting standards in mission-critical applications
  • over 70 years of experience in developing mission-critical applications
  • finger always on the pulse thanks to significant research investment (in-house), plus engagement in international research projects

By Lesley Brown

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