Operations Analysis & Simulation

As ridership and train volumes increase on our nation’s rail and transit networks, operating capacity becomes critical to providing fast reliable service. LTK’s Operations Analysis & Simulation professionals have the right skills, the right experience and the right tools to help transit and rail systems deliver high quality service cost-effectively. Working with LTK’s Transportation & Operations Planning, Vehicles Engineering and Systems Engineering professionals, we can analyze the best solutions to improving reliability of existing systems and determining the capital investment needed to support growth on the existing network and accommodating network expansion.

Our capabilities in rail operations analysis include feasibility studies, service/operating plan development, trip time predictions, network simulation/capacity analysis, fleet requirements analyses, cost-benefit studies, energy savings (“green”) studies, alternatives analyses, and conceptual design development. We use a variety of simulation tools, including our own flagship TrainOps® simulator that offers unique capabilities in integrated traction power/operations modeling, dispatch automation and Positive Train Control analysis. 

Clients include public agencies and commissions, public rail operators, financial institutions, and private-sector freight railroads.

LTK’s Operations Analysis capabilities span all transit and rail modes, including:

  • Conventional Bus
  • Bus Rapid Transit
  • Automated Guideway Transit
  • Electric Trolley Coaches
  • Streetcar
  • Light Rail Transit
  • Rapid Transit
  • Owners and Users of the National Rail Network, including commuter, intercity and freight railroads

Our capabilities include service design and scheduling, where our Operations Analysts can serve as an extension of staff as rail operators build new operating plans for service realignment, line extensions or simply to accommodate ridership growth.   LTK professionals can assist with current operational needs, special events planning and future operations planning.  For Alternatives Analyses, Major Investment Studies and Environmental Impact Statements, our Operations Analysts often work in cooperation with our Transportation & Operations Planning group to ensure that the Service Plans and Operating Plans are compliant with FTA Section 5309 (“New Starts”) requirements.

Where scheduled rail operations are approaching (or, sometimes, exceeding) the practical capacity of the rail network at maximum scheduled speed, network operations simulation is a valuable tool to assess the reliability of an existing or proposed operation.  LTK’s software tools support this type of analysis, which is often performed under both “deterministic” (no variability in performance of equipment or behavior of train crews and passengers) and “stochastic” (variability or randomization that produces differences in each simulation run despite identical inputs) conditions.

Our simulation capability extends to single train (“TPC”) type simulations, as well as traction power simulation.  As transit agencies and rail networks strive to “go green”, LTK’s Operations Analysis & Simulation professionals can assist with determining the best energy-saving strategies, including strategic coasting, as well as deployment of energy storage devices and/or regenerative braking for electrified systems.  And our Vehicle Engineering staff are recognized leaders in determining the feasibility of retrofitting regenerative braking capability into older rail fleets.

LTK’s Rail Operations Analysts also specialize in the critical block layout and control line design phase of train control design, producing layouts for new systems and extensions that satisfy the operational requirements of a rail network while minimizing capital cost.  For existing signal systems, we can quantify practical capacity in terms of trains per hour and passengers per hour and also determine the maximum speeds supported by the existing system at each location on the network.  Where capacity “pinch points” or substandard provided braking distances exist in existing systems, we can develop cost-effective solutions on a localized basis.  When new vehicles are proposed, we use LTK’s software tools to determine their effect on system capacity, as acceleration profiles, braking rates and/or dwell times may change with a new fleet.

LTK’s Infrastructure Assessment capabilities include professional services to develop the most operable track layouts, whether they be mainline or within yards.  Using our software tools, we can quantify the trip time and capacity of alternative layouts, guiding railroads and transit agencies to the most cost-effective designs.  We also provide Geographic Information System (GIS) and field inspection support for rail infrastructure, including track, stations, maintenance facilities, power, signaling, communications, central control, and virtually every other rail asset (including, of course, the rail vehicles themselves).