Setting the Verification Standard for Adhesion Forecasting

Setting the Verification Standard for Adhesion Forecasting

University of Sheffield and the Met Office

With support from Stagecoach Supertram and Arriva Rail North


This project focused on improving the prediction of low adhesion on the railways in autumn to help mitigate against delays to trains and incidents by developing verification standards at different spatial and time resolutions. This is expected to support those who rely on adhesion forecasts such as train drivers, timetable planners and track cleaning teams. Better monitoring of standards of forecasting should help to improve confidence in forecasts in the future.



Professor Roger Lewis, University of Sheffield

How would you describe your project in one Tweet (i.e. 280 characters)? 
"This project focuses on improving low adhesion forecasting on the railways in autumn through the development of verification techniques at a range of spatial and temporal scales." 

What are the benefits for industry, within in the context of the wider forecasting adhesion landscape?  
"Although recent improvements to forecasting and low adhesion mitigation have been made, there remains a pressing need for better monitoring of standards of forecasts used within the rail industry. Ultimately, this will lead to improved forecasts in the future; as limitations of techniques are better understood, greater confidence in the use of forecasts becomes possible; and a high standard of adhesion forecasts used by industry is ensured through service level agreements. In turn, confidence in the forecasts will help better planning of mitigation, leading to reduced costs for the sector whilst improving performance for passengers in autumn."

During the life of the project (and others you have led in the past), you have had the opportunity to engage closely with ARG and other relevant cross-industry groups. In your opinion, what are the benefits you have gained from these opportunities? 
"Having cross-industry input into this project has been a tremendous benefit as understanding how the forecasts are currently used in industry, and what aspects of performance are currently measured ensures that the outcomes of the project are informed by a variety of stakeholders.This means that the verification guidance is more relevant in an operational environment and makes use of existing data collection to enable wide adoption."

Members of the project team include: Dr Matt Harmon, Dr Victoria Hand and Dr Inna Gitman, University of Sheffield; Dr Victoria Chapman, Dr Elizabeth Brock and Dr Laura Fawcett, Met Office

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University of Sheffield