GOVERNANCE: More Effective Planning and Coordination of Track Outages Would Help Achieve a State of Good Repair
The objective for this report was to assess the effectiveness of the company’s efforts to plan and coordinate track outages. Ineffective track outage planning and coordination can negatively affect the company’s ability to achieve its state-of-good repair goal, which can impact revenue, customer service, and its relationship with external stakeholders.
We found that, starting in 2018, the company has built a more disciplined process to plan and coordinate major track outages, such as implementing new procedures to prioritize capital projects and to identify and plan for outages needed to accomplish them. The company has not, however, institutionalized certain practices that will likely improve the company’s track outage planning and coordination process. We found that the company 1) does not have a multi-year companywide track outage plan, 2) relies on outdated technology and software to build the outage plan which inhibits timely updates, and 3) has not clearly defined each departments’ unique role in coordinating the outage plan with commuter railroads and other external organizations.
We recommended that the company incorporate a multi-year focus into its planning process, research options with the Information Technology department on ways to update its system and/or software tools, and clearly define departmental roles in coordinating the plan with affected external organizations.