SBB drivers given seconds-accurate timer to track and reduce delays

SBB drivers given seconds-accurate timer to track and reduce delays

With over 93 percent of rail services running on time in 2022, many would expect public transport providers in Switzerland to rest on some well-earned laurels this year. However, a new policy from Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) shows that they are keen to boost their punctuality rating even more: the firm has now installed a display on all trains that shows drivers how early or late they are down to the very second.

SBB introduces delay timer on Swiss trains

As part of a new update to all driver cabs, SBB has installed a timing device which shows operators exactly how many seconds they are ahead or behind schedule. Despite having punctuality rates of 93,7 percent last year, it appears as though SBB are always trying to find new ways to make their services run even more like clockwork.

A spokesperson for the company told 20 Minuten that the timing device will help drivers take “countermeasures” to combat slight delays through faster acceleration and harsher braking. Operators will also use the information to calculate an “optimal driving strategy” one hour before the train is due to depart, based on weather conditions and expected traffic on the route - so that they can time acceleration and braking to allow the train to run as fast and as efficiently as possible.

Delay trackers improve punctuality and energy efficiency

SBB project manager for energy efficiency, Roland Aechbacher, said that early signs show that the devices have already increased punctuality and reduced energy consumption, explaining that on-time trains are more energy efficient as they don’t have to break and accelerate unnecessarily to avoid other services.

The new system has cost the company 305.000 Swiss francs to implement on all trains. However, the firm estimated that the system will pay for itself through energy savings within six months.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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