Management & Operations

More Consultant Achievements in Transit

Posted on May 1, 2004

Gannett Fleming Inc.
SEPTA derailment recovery

In spring 2003, a freight train derailed near the Neshaminy Falls Station in eastern Pennsylvania. It caused significant damage to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) R-3 Line. A catenary support structure was demolished, and a station platform, track and communications system were also damaged. Approximately 3,500 feet of the catenary wires on each of the two electrified tracks was affected. SEPTA contacted Gannett Fleming Transit & Rail Systems, a division of Gannett Fleming Inc., to provide emergency detailed design and construction support services. The work consisted of a new catenary support structure design and new catenary design for two miles of destroyed wires. Catenary profiles were designed as the messenger wires were being pulled in for the new catenaries. Gannett Fleming provided hanger tabulations to aid in expediting the catenary profile construction. Round-the-clock construction supervision was available to address issues that came up during construction. The construction schedule was met and the catenary work was completed in less than five days. Cambridge Systematics
Chicago Transit Authority customer surveys

Despite recent increases in transit ridership in major urban centers, transit providers are continuously seeking ways of retaining existing riders and attracting new passengers. Cambridge Systematics has a customer-driven approach that adopts traditional market research techniques to help agencies better meet customer needs. The approach assists transit agencies in understanding rider perceptions and helps them design and market transit services to the public. The methodologies used include customer satisfaction surveys, passenger environment surveys, customer-oriented measures of transit performance, riders’ perceptions of transit service quality and trade-offs among different aspects of transit service through stated-preference methods. Cambridge Systematics’ approach was used to help the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) complete a large-scale market research study to quantify the financial contributions of CTA riders to the Chicago metropolitan area and to evaluate their preferences for new service ideas. A data collection effort undertaken in several urban and suburban locations relied on an intercept survey of CTA riders and mall shoppers. The surveys collected information on riders’ transit usage frequency, reliance on multiple modes, travel party size, trip purpose and retail expenditures on a given day. The research established travel behavior and purchase patterns of potential CTA customers. The findings provided important information to CTA on future service improvements. Lamoreaux, McLendon & Associates Inc.
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority light rail lines

Lamoreaux, McLendon & Associates Inc. is assisting Santa Clara Valley (Calif.) Transportation Authority (VTA) in construction of a number of new line segments to enhance an existing 42-mile light rail system. The Tasman East/Capitol Light Rail Project is an 8.3-mile extension connecting with various other bus and rail services. The project has been completed and is now in pre-revenue testing. VTA is also constructing the 6.8-mile Vasona Line, which will add 11 new stations. Service is anticipated to begin in January 2006. DMJM+HARRIS
Partnership yields new subway system

In a joint venture, DMJM+HARRIS* Arup is responsible for the preliminary engineering of New York City Transit Authority’s Second Avenue subway. The alignment will follow Second Avenue from a terminal station at 125th Street in northern Manhattan to Hanover Square and the financial district in the south. The subway’s route length is more than 8 miles, with 16 stations and connections to the existing subway at seven locations and to the existing bus system at almost every station. This $16.8 billion system is projected to serve 560,000 riders daily. When complete, this major undertaking will ease massive traffic congestion for eastside subway riders. A major aspect of the project is creating a twin-bore tunnel for the underground line. Various tunneling methods will be used, including tunnel boring, cut-and-cover and mining techniques. Additionally, DMJM+HARRIS* Arup has provided engineering input for the environmental process, resulting in the Federal Transit Administration’s acceptance of an environmental impact statement. This is an essential step in enabling federal funding participation. Preliminary engineering is completed for the first segment of 96th Street to 62nd Street, an initial construction contract for a design-build bored tunnel in rock. This is to be awarded by December, with the first segment to be completed in 2011. Initial daily ridership is expected to be 202,000. Preliminary engineering for the entire alignment will also be completed by the end of the year. Booz Allen Hamilton
Denver Regional Transit District pass tracking

The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) issues two types of deep-discount passes: the eco pass and the university pass. Eco passes are transit passes purchased by employers for employees, and university passes are transit passes included with student IDs at participating colleges. Currently, a fixed amount per customer is paid by the employer or university to RTD, and the customer shows a pass upon boarding RTD buses or light rail vehicles. To track the usage of these deep-discount passes, RTD worked with Booz Allen Hamilton to analyze data collection technology, including bar codes, magnetic stripes, smart cards and RFID tags. Ultimately, RTD decided to perform a pilot program to test the RFID concept for tracking pass usage. Approximately 100 RTD employees and 100 eco pass customers were recruited to participate in the pilot program. Ten buses, two light rail cars and nine light rail station platforms were equipped with card interface devices (CIDs) for the duration of the pilot program. The participants were instructed to tag their RFID cards to the CIDs every time they used RTD rail or buses. RTD is currently compiling the lessons learned and may expand the pilot to test additional features. S.R. Beard & Associates LLC
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas

In 1998, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO) of Harris County, Texas, embarked on a multiple-year system planning effort that used corridor studies to define the plans, rather than respond to the plan itself. This approach was developed by METRO due to the fact that expansion of the system would require voter approval amid substantial political opposition. METRO felt that by developing a plan based on technical studies and community input, the process could result in success at the ballot box. S.R. Beard & Associates worked with the agency’s staff and board of directors to develop a vision plan that identified 10 corridors where high-capacity transit would be necessary to serve transportation needs in the 21st century. Following the adoption of the vision plan, METRO initiated advanced planning studies to evaluate the feasibility of high-capacity transit options. These studies, under the direction of S.R. Beard & Associates, resulted in recommendations ranging from local bus service improvements to all-day HOV service to extensions of the region’s light rail starter system. The support for public transportation investments garnered during the corridor studies, along with the greater awareness of the need to develop a "system," were expanded during an intensive public outreach effort. During the outreach process, dozens of community meetings were conducted to obtain public input on the plan, and the board responded by adopting a plan that was reflective of the communities’ desire to have more rail transit, and to utilize bonding to accelerate the program. Public support was clearly shown through the results at the polls on Nov. 4. Delon Hampton & Associates
Memphis Area Transit Authority Madison Avenue Line

Designed by a Delon Hampton & Associates (DHA)-led team, the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) recently opened the Madison Avenue Line. The project was completed on time and $19 million under budget. The opening of this two-mile link between downtown and the medical center — the two largest employment centers in the region — is considered a major accomplishment for Memphis, which seeks to build a light rail system that will ensure citizens fast, reliable and convenient transportation. The project involved the design and construction of a rail line operating in mixed traffic and consisting of separate outbound and inbound tracks, primarily of embedded track construction. The crossing of eight lanes of Interstate 240 and a major arterial street presented challenges for the project. The project also included new stations and a park-and-ride facility. DHA provided project management as well as civil and structural engineering services for this project. The extension provides a transportation and economic development link, offering transit service options for businesses, residents and visitors to Memphis. The rail line enhances development efforts already underway and provides a catalyst for redevelopment in other areas of the corridor. Urban Engineers Inc.
SEPTA’s Frankford Transportation Center

As part of a joint venture, Urban Engineers Inc. is managing the construction of the Frankford Transportation Center (FTC) — the largest single site project ever undertaken by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). The construction management team faced numerous challenges in the development of this $187 million intermodal facility. In a confined space with little room for storage, service had to be maintained for 16 separate bus and trackless trolley routes. The greatest challenge came during a critical, scheduled nine-day outage. A year of concentrated planning was necessary to make this effort successful. During this period, service had to be interrupted so that eight pre-constructed sections of track and deck could be installed. The new sections were constructed at a remote location, dismantled and shipped to the site in advance of the outage. Throughout the nine-day period, buses were used to shuttle the affected passengers. The FTC is now operational. CHK America
Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District

Two years ago, Santa Barbara (Calif.) Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) enlisted the help of CHK America to improve the communication of service information to passengers. An analysis of MTD’s services and existing passenger information identified products that would meet MTD’s goals. The plan was to adopt a new design format that would become consistent with all of MTD’s passenger information products. CHK handled two key projects — the redesign of the entire system map and the introduction of destination finders at busy hubs. MTD’s campaign also introduced 168 information panels along the city’s busiest corridor and the development of a pocket map, providing comprehensive, but easy to understand, information. KFH Group Inc.
Arlington County’s bus stop database

In an attempt to improve accessibility in the transit environment, Arlington County, Va., completed a consultant study last year that evaluated its 1,258 bus stops. The objectives of the study included the identification and evaluation of the function, features, ADA compliance and safety of the county’s bus stops and development of recommendations for improvement. Based on the study, conducted by KFH Group, the county has begun to implement bus stop improvements to better serve the needs of riders with disabilities. Perhaps more significantly, a new bus stop database has greatly facilitated communications between Arlington County, responsible for the stops, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), ensuring bus stop safety and maintenance. When WMATA contacts county staff about a problematic stop, Arlington County staff can access the database and immediately "see" the stop, and rectify the problem. Intellisys Technology
GFI Genfare’s TVM

GFI Genfare, a provider of transit fare collection systems, selected Intellisys Technology to design software and architecture for its new ticket vending machine (TVM). Intellisys developed a versatile screen painting wizard for the TVM to simplify designing the display for transit agencies. Additionally, with Intellisys’ hardware wizard, transit agencies have the capability to configure plug-and-play hardware and various ticket types from the TVM. An audio component automatically verbalizes dollar amounts and numbers entered by transit agencies into audio interface, and a self-healing design allows TVM hardware to recover from most fault situations. Wendel Duchscherer
Kalamazoo, Mich., intermodal facility

Wendel Duchscherer was chosen by the city of Kalamazoo to develop an intermodal facility that includes a pulse point for Kalamazoo Metro buses and coordinates both functionally and aesthetically with an adjacent rail depot that is listed on the National Registery of Historical Places. The historic depot is also used by Amtrak and Greyhound. After reviewing the site and program needs, Wendel Duchscherer decided that the depot could serve as a transportation-only facility. Working through various design scenarios with the city and transportation personnel, architecture was chosen that reacts to the concerns of the site, including aesthetics, function, pedestrian safety and route flexibility. The plan for the facility provides a modern, user-friendly intermodal facility, while remaining sensitive to the depot’s historic status and the community. HNTB Corp.
Bay Area Rapid Transit airport extension

Riders of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) added a new stop to their transit itineraries last summer — San Francisco International Airport. The extension was envisioned by BART when the transit agency was created in 1957 but only became a reality after decades of planning and support by numerous agencies, corporations, the public and elected officials throughout the state and Washington, D.C. The FTA selected the extension as one of four FTA Turnkey Demonstration Projects, using the approach to reduce project duration and cost by using a single contractor to perform at least two major tasks. With six miles of underground subway, four new stations and more than a mile of aerial guideway, the project’s goals included traffic congestion relief, improving air quality and creating direct access to the airport. HNTB Corp. designed the line, track work and systems of a large part of the extension, including the subway and aerial structures. HNTB also designed two stations and parking structures. The extension is expected to reach 70,000 trips per day by 2010. Edwards and Kelcey
Secaucus Transfer Program

Conceived in the 1960s but only recently completed, the Secaucus Transfer Program was a design to build a major transportation complex in New Jersey between New York and Newark’s Penn Stations. With the Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station as its centerpiece, this transportation hub serves as the interconnecting node for 10 of New Jersey Transit’s 11 commuter rail lines and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC), the busiest railroad stretch in the country. Making the station a reality was a landmark project in both the history of the state and in the 57-year history of Edwards and Kelcey. The four-phase program, predicated on coordination with all entities, comprised nine construction contracts and multiple railroad force account contracts. The first phase of the program included expansion of the NEC from two to four tracks. The biggest challenge was constructing rail modifications and station supports while maintaining 90-mph rail service. More phases followed with an emphasis on improving access to the region.

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