List of definitions

Franchise indicator definitions

For definitions of transport franchise performance indicators, refer to the document Transport Franchise Definitions 2023.

Five-minute standard

A European punctuality standard stating that a train is only deemed to have been delayed if it arrives at least five minutes late.

A2 corridor

The rail line between Eindhoven and Amsterdam.

Focus routes

Routes with systematic problems in terms of punctuality, connections or smooth progress of the journey for specific groups of passengers. NS and ProRail are jointly putting in extra effort on these routes to reduce the delays and improve customer satisfaction.

Modified timetable

Controlled changes in the train traffic when there is an impending threat of a situation to which it is vulnerable, e.g. snowfall, extreme cold or a major storm front. A modified timetable creates more space on the tracks. Fewer trains will be running, which reduces the chance of train traffic getting clogged up.

Punctuality of arrival

The extent to which train arrival times in practice match up with the timetable. In general, punctuality is an important way to measure the implementation of the planned process for the timetable.


The ATB-vv (automatic train protection and warning system – improved version) is a system that also automatically stops trains in front of stop signals at speeds of under 40 km/h. The system is an adaptation of the ATBEG (automatic train protection and warning system – first generation).

Minimum baseline

Value for the yearly minimum level of performance required for a performance indicator.

Withdrawal from service

A planned train-free period in the timetable for maintenance, renovation or repair work. This means infrastructure is allocated for track renovation and not for train traffic. Withdrawals from service are arranged by ProRail in consultation with the carriers.


An agreement by which a governmental body outsources all or part of the commercial operation of an economic activity to a third party, which then bears the risk of that commercial operation. The Dutch authorities have awarded the commercial operation of the main rail network to NS for the period 2015-2025 and the period 2025-2033.


The planning of a transport service in terms of times and places.

Dossier Duurzaam

The ‘Sustainability Dossier’, an annual monitor that NS uses to assess its reputation for sustainability among consumers.

Energy efficiency

The objective is to reduce the amount of energy needed to supply products or services. NS is improving its energy efficiency by maximising the use of modern trains with lower energy consumption, such as the Sprinter Light Train (SLT), and by upgrading old trains to modern trains that are more economical in terms of energy. Energy consumption is also reduced through energy-efficient driving and energy-efficient stabling of trains. To this end, we keep track of the Energy Efficiency Index.


European RailTraffic Management System. The new European safety system on the railways that will in the longer term replace the ATB (automatic train protection and warning) system.


An e-ticket or online ticket is an access or travel ticket that is ordered and provided over the Internet.


The NS FLIRT is an electrically powered type of train used by Nederlandse Spoorwegen. These trains were built by the Swiss train builder Stadler Rail and are based on that company’s FLIRT 3 platform. The trains are intended in the first instance to relieve the rolling stock shortages and to cope the with growth in passenger numbers on the main rail network. The FLIRT (Flinker Leichter Innovativer Regionaltriebzug) features light and space in the interior.

Main rail network

The rail network on which Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) has the exclusive right to run passenger trains.


The 125-km line suitable for high speeds running from Schiphol to the Belgian border, with a branch to Breda.

Boarding Zone

A delimited zone indicated by blue signs within which a train always stops. One sign shows the start of this boarding zone and the other sign shows the end. By placing this boarding zone differently at every station (at the front, middle or back of the train), it should be possible to distribute passengers much more effectively over the length of the train.


A passenger train that provides a rapid connection between locations, stopping in principle only at the larger, more important stations. This means that the Intercity (IC) is highly suited to long-distance travel.

Impact analysis

By analysing our impact on the materially relevant themes and providing information about it, we can enter into a dialogue with our stakeholders about those themes and target our efforts to increase our positive impact and decrease our negative impact.

Integrity portal

A platform that NS staff can go to if they have any questions about integrity, compliance and risks, or where they can report any such issues.


This means that the net CO2-equivalent emissions of a journey by train or train-replacement bus transport are ultimately zero. Any emissions are offset through certificate mechanisms. Emissions from electricity production for trains are offset by purchasing Guarantees of Origin (GOs) from European wind and solar farms. GOs link financial flows to renewable energy production. For train replacement bus transport, our suppliers use renewable fuels for direct journeys whenever possible and offset diesel journeys for NS with sustainable journeys for other clients in the same calendar year. Until 2020, it was assumed by that CO2 emissions from biodiesel HVO100 (pure hydrogenated vegetable oil) were zero. However, since 2021, the conversion factor has been adjusted to include emissions of gases other than CO2. These other greenhouse gases are converted to their warming effect in CO2 equivalents. To offset these remaining smaller emissions, we have been using internationally recognised Gold Standard Verified Emission Reduction (VER) certificates since 2021 so that total emissions from train replacement bus transport remain zero below the line.


A place where numerous roads, tracks or other modalities come together.

Long-Term Rail Agenda

A step forward in quality on the railways is needed if all these wishes and ambitions are to be met. With that in mind, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management drew up the Long-Term Rail Agenda in 2012.

Level playing field

A fairness principle that focuses on creating conditions in which different bidders are able to make competitive bids based on their specific characteristics and starting from the same baseline.


Removal of limitations and barriers to access to the transport market by governmental bodies, which makes competition possible.


LOCOV, the national public transport users' forum, is where consumer organisations represent the interests of rail passengers. They do so by holding discussions with and advising Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), ProRail and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The consumer organisations advise NS, ProRail and the Ministry.

Market regulation

The entirety of legislation and regulations that describes which companies may be active on the market and under what conditions. Proper market regulation aims to set up the markets in such a way that their social functioning is optimised. The aim must be to find a balance between market forces and regulation.

Withdrawal of rolling stock

Taking rolling stock out of service for maintenance or repairs.


The mix of the importance to stakeholders on the one hand and the actual impact that NS can have on the topic on the other.

Environmental profit and loss statement

A profit and loss statement in which the ‘value’ of environmental impacts on society is calculated.

NS Flex

Service enabling passengers to travel on all public transport without a balance. Payment is made in arrears via direct debit.

Public transport card (OV-chipkaart)

Means of payment for public transport in the Netherlands. The public transport card is valid for train, bus, tram and metro services.


If there is a specific threat of redundancy for a group of employees or an individual employee, the pre-mobility phase will start based on a decision to be taken by the employer.


The extent to which train departure and/or arrival times in practice match up with the timetable. Punctuality is an important way to measure the implementation of the planned process for the timetable.

Travelling on account

A payment method for public transport in which passengers pay after the event and therefore do not need to have a balance on their public transport card.


A unit for the distance that an individual passenger covers using a particular mode of transport.

Punctuality for passengers

The journey time of the customer including all connections with respect to their journey plan (travel advice that was issued, for instance). This is measured at 47 points.

Risk appetite

The risk appetite of an organisation expresses the nature and scale of the risks that an organisation is prepared to accept in order to realise its business objectives.

Service Forum

The NS Service Forum is a place where customers can go with questions or tips about travelling with NS. They can discuss things with other passengers here. In addition, the NS social media team is present in order to answer questions.

Spoorslags Beter ('On track for improvement')

Name of the new strategy that was presented on 1 March 2016. With this strategy, we are focusing on our core activities with the aim of improving performance for passengers. Spoorslags Beter focuses on achieving the agreed franchise KPIs by 2019.

New Generation Sprinter

Working title for the third generation of the NS Sprinter trains. These new trains will be available from 2018 onwards for passenger transport.


The people or groups who are affected by our actions and whose actions have an effect on our organisation and services.

Stakeholder dialogue

A stakeholder dialogue is an essential element of the sustainability report. In a stakeholder dialogue, all the groups of stakeholders are asked questions based on influence. A stakeholder dialogue gives an organisation a clear picture of what is important for its stakeholders. On the one hand, it helps in determining the focus of accountability for social matters. On the other, it provides inspiration and input for further development of strategic sustainability policy.

Station Experience Monitor

A tool used for measuring how passengers perceive the stations. Passengers at all railway stations in the Netherlands are asked to give an assessment and perception of the stations and station areas.

Target value

Value for the level of performance required for a performance indicator in 2019 and 2024.


An undesired, non-technical case of a red sign not being observed (signal passed at danger).


The NedTrain vocational school for train technology where pupils work and learn at the same time, with a job as the end result.

Transparency Benchmark

The Transparency Benchmark is a tool provided by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy for improving reporting on social matters within the Netherlands. The Transparency Benchmark gives a picture of the way in which the largest Dutch businesses report their CSR activities.


This gives the number of accidents resulting in sickness absence (including those accidents where it was possible to find replacement work) expressed in numbers per million hours worked.

Transport capacity

The capacity of a train to carry a number of passengers.


The weighted average cost of capital.

Sickness absence

Sickness absence is the time during which a permanent employee is absent due to illness. The sickness absence commences on the first day on which the person concerned should be working but is absent. The sickness absence ends on the day on which the person concerned has recovered, or after 730 days. Working a limited number of hours (not under a therapeutic return to work programme) is not qualified as sickness absence but as a light shift.

Seating capacity

The capacity in terms of numbers of seats in a train for carrying passengers.

Seat availability

Standard in which the numbers of passengers are compared against the number of available seats in the train.

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