Strategy

“Clear the way”

Develop strategic objectives. You need clear objectives and empowered leaders to allow projects to be delivered quickly.
Clear objectives allow you to set the scope.

Successful projects begin by setting out clear objectives which requires strategic planning.  A critical success factor for rail projects is having clearly defined strategic objectives which translate into a clear strategic narrative. 

A strong value proposition allows a project to measure delivery against the objectives.  This is especially true in the railway, which is a complex system, requiring significant levels of strategic planning with projects that last for many years with impacts far beyond the railway fence.

Revisit the strategic objectives at key decision points to focus on delivering the benefits as opposed to driving forward what can be built.

Strategic context checklist

Define the strategic context and develop the strategic objectives.

Download an empty checklist tool to complete for your project.

Strategic narrative template

Consider a list of potential objectives that are relevant to your project, or think up some new ones.

Download an empty narrative template.

Vision tool

Articulate a clear vision statement that can be easily understood by everyone.

Read more about the vision tool and see examples of well articulated vision statements.

Download the vision tool.

Pause or proceed plan

Can the current ideas deliver the strategic objectives? Asking questions about the exit strategy focuses minds and tests whether you have the right strategic objectives for your idea.

Read more about the pause or proceed plan.

Download the outline plan.


Once you have defined the strategic context and objectives, and have clearly articulated the vision and understood the problem, only then can you begin developing a solution.

If the problem does indeed call for a transport solution then government guidance on transport appraisal should be followed. The tools below can help you do this.

Transport hierarchy

A first principle when considering modes is to look at the Transport Hierarchy. This advises that active travel modes should normally be considered first. These are the lowest carbon emitters and best for public health. They are also likely to have some of the shortest planning and delivery timescales. Only once these have been ruled out as a solution to the articulated problem, should other modes be considered. While the hierarchy is not a fixed set of rules that must be followed, it will help you justify and document your choices.

Transport hierarchy tool.

Read the full government guidance on the transport hierarchy.

Multi-modal assessment tool

If the analysis of the problem (which normally includes transport demand modelling) shows that active modes are either not suitable or not enough on their own to meet the stated objectives, then consideration should be given to public transport modes. The multi-modal assessment tool can then be used to determine which mass-transit option is the most appropriate for your project.