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Aston University and Chiltern Railways join forces to improve customer experience during disruption  

Chiltern Railways

9 June 2014

Aston University has partnered with train operating company Chiltern Railways in a research project which aims to minimise the impact of disruptive incidents on train passengers.

Disruption on rail services is sometimes inevitable due to external incidents such as technical failures and extreme weather. However, improved communication and sharing of information between staff and passengers and between the train operator and other stakeholders could help to reduce the impact of delays caused by train journey disruptions.    

Aston University’s team of specialist researchers, led by Dr Ben Clegg, Reader in Operations Improvement and Systems Thinking and Associate Dean for Business Partnerships, will analyse recent critical and disruptive incidents to look for patterns of failure in information communication. 

Novel techniques developed at Aston University, such as modelling and simulation, will be used to provide an insight into how to minimise future disruptions.

The team will work to identify the root causes of failures associated with these disruptive incidents and seek to understand how quicker recovery from critical incidents can be facilitated through better information communication. This will, in turn, improve travellers’ journeys by clearly informing their decisions on whether to travel and how.

Rob Brighouse, Managing Director of Chiltern Railways said of the project: “We recognise that travel disruption can be stressful so it is vital that we give our passengers timely, accurate and clear information. We believe that working with the team at Aston will enhance our expertise and reinforce our commitment to give our passengers the best travel experience possible.”

We are delighted to be working with Chiltern Railways as it gives us a first-hand insight into the rail industry and provides us with a complex challenge

Dr Clegg commented: “We are delighted to be working with Chiltern Railways as it gives us a first-hand insight into the rail industry and provides us with a complex challenge. Here at Aston, we are always keen to engage with businesses from all sectors and apply our expertise to real-life situations, helping to solve even the toughest challenges that they face.”

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For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or j.garbett@aston.ac.uk