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Whole System Thinking

Since the advent of privatisation, rail professionals who have worked across the industry and have a deep understanding of it, have become increasingly rare.  WPA have long since recognised this issue and have used the broad experience of the team to promote whole system thinking and solutions to whatever problem we have worked on.  This is made possible by our partners, who have worked in virtually every discipline of railways, including managing infrastructure maintenance, control rooms, signalling, traincrew, stations as well as key areas such as safety, customer proposition, performance and operational planning.

We have a strong understanding of how decisions in one area impact elsewhere and can help provide and deliver industry solutions which deliver customer benefits.

The importance of understanding the GB rail network from a whole system perspective is becoming an increasingly important factor for all organisations across the rail industry.  It was a key theme in the Williams/Shapps Report, which highlighted that in order to deliver real customer benefits, it was critical that all decision and change implementation be based on recognition of the consequences they have right across the industry. 

Example projects include:

  • GBR Performance Plan: WPA worked alongside Arup to develop the initial long term industry performance plan post reform.  This focused on exploiting the benefits of an integrated approach to managing the network, identifying key areas where service delivery can be improved.

  • Operational mobilisations: WPA have supported a number of franchise and concession mobilisations which required working closely with the operator and their key stakeholders.  For example we supported the original mobilisation of MTR Crossrail, including working across organisations to change the way operational disruption was managed to deliver improved passenger benefits.

  • Connected Leaders: WPA designed and delivered the operational learning module for the cross industry Connected Leaders programme.  Through the use of scenarios we encourage senior leaders to understand operational challenges from a system wide perspective, focussed on delivering for passengers and freight customers.

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