Page 4: Social and Technological factors
The rail network covers most parts of the country. This means that Network Rail has an important and sensitive relationship with the public. Nearly five million people live close to rail tracks, so noise needs careful control.
Network Rail aims to develop a positive image or brand.
Persuading the public that rail travel is a real alternative to car use is vital. Individual rail companies build a local identity to increase usage.
Network Rail is a national company but also has a local impact. It is a huge national employer and has 32,000 staff in widely varying roles. It employs more engineers than any other organisation, running the largest engineering training programme in the UK. Progress in Network Rail's strategy depends on attracting talented and committed employees.
Safety is a particularly pressing issue. Trespass on the railway and misuse of level crossings are key causes of accidents. Network Rail has a major role to play in educating the public especially children about the dangers of the rail environment.
Network Rail has used advanced technology to cut costs, improve performance, such as running to time, and implement higher levels of safety. These are all key objectives which Network Rail has achieved recently. The cost of such investment is currently over £3 billion each year. These funds pay for improvements to track, signalling, and safety performance (for example, in detecting broken rails).
Network Rail has used advanced technology to cut costs, improve performance, such as running to time, and implement higher levels of safety.
The need to adopt the best technology and to innovate continuously is urgent due to a history of low investment. Investment was poor in the British Rail era and inadequate during the Railtrack years. Today users expect good performance, so by investing money in new technology Network Rail is closing the investment 'gap' and can meet the rising expectations of its customers.