RIA and TfL to develop a new standards challenge process

28 January 2019


The Railway Industry Association (RIA) and Transport for London (TfL) will collaborate to design and implement a new process by which rail suppliers can provide feedback on standards. The aim of the process is to develop innovations in the industry, with the potential to reduce costs, for the benefit of passengers, freight users and taxpayers.

The development of the challenge process was kicked-off by Nigel Holness, Managing Director of London Underground, who attended a workshop at RIA’s HQ on Thursday 24 January, with some twenty organisations from supplier businesses in attendance.

The new standards challenge builds on the successful introduction of Network Rail’s Standard Challenge Process last year, which has already seen over 30 changes to standards within a year of the process being launched. These challenges will help to spur innovation in the industry, without compromising safety.

 It is hoped that a similar collaborative approach will provide benefits for TfL.

David Clarke, Technical Director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) said: “It is fantastic to be working with Transport for London to develop a process by which unnecessarily onerous standards can be challenged. Our previous work with Network Rail shows the benefit to clients and suppliers of coming together to collaboratively assess how we can deliver innovatively and cost-effectively – ultimately to the benefit of those who use our rail system.”

Nigel Holness, TfL’s Managing Director of London Underground, said: “We believe our supply chain should be supported to develop new solutions and not held back in terms of innovation by historical norms. So we are delighted to be working with RIA to see how we can best deliver future rail improvements by changing those standards that have previously hampered new ideas and innovations. Our intention is to create a portal to ensure transparency, which will be developed over 2019.”

Notes to Editors
  1. Network Rail developed their Standards Challenge in 2018 as an end to end process with a web portal and a review process involving RIA, the ORR and RSSB. This process was developed in collaboration with RIA and its members are involved at all stages, however, accountability and ownership for the Standards remains with Network Rail. More information can be found here.
  2. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community. We help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products. We promote and represent our members’ interests to policy makers, clients and other stakeholders in the UK and overseas. RIA has 240+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people—more than the workforce of Birmingham. It is also a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.

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