Sound Transit

Tacoma Link Operations and Start-Up Planning

Tacoma, Washington

LTK played a significant role in the opening of the Tacoma Link, a 1.6-mile streetcar line in downtown Tacoma that connects Tacoma Dome Station (a transit hub for city busses, express bus service to Seattle, commuter train service to Seattle and Everett and Amtrak service) to the Theatre District.  Opened on August 22, 2003, Tacoma Link runs through the business and banking district, serves three world-class museums, the new Tacoma campus of the University of Washington, a new hotel and convention center, and the Theater District.

OEA1-TacomaAs part of its Systems Engineering effort for Sound Transit, LTK provided support in operations and start-up planning.  In the early stages of the project, LTK developed an Operations and Maintenance Plan for the line, detailing how the system would be operated.  The plan verified that the system could be operated reliably with a configuration that includes a segment of single track for a substantial portion of the line and mixed-traffic operation at the other end.  A staffing plan and O&M cost estimate was also prepared.  The organization is very lean, consistent with the size of the light rail system; contract services are utilized for most security and maintenance-of-way activities.

As system construction progressed, LTK prepared both a System Integration Test Plan and a Rail Activation Plan.  The test plan identified all system integration tests to be performed prior to system commissioning.  For each test, a summary sheet was prepared describing the nature of the test, test prerequisites and dependencies, facilities, equipment and personnel requirements for performing the test, and criteria for determining test success or failure.  Test sequence was charted, providing a basis for scheduling the tests.  In addition to the system integration tests, the plan identified system readiness drills.  These drills provided a means of demonstrating the ability of system personnel, and emergency services to respond to emergency incidents on the system.  The system readiness drills and most system integration tests were requisite elements of system safety certification.

The Rail Activation Plan prepared for Tacoma Link identified all activity required to prepare for system start-up.  While system integration testing was a major element of start-up, the plan identified the other numerous tasks that required completion prior to the start of passenger service.  These included public outreach and education, third-party contracts, staffing and training, procedures preparation, system occupancy, pre-revenue service simulation and preparations for opening day.

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Metropolitan Authority of Harris County, Texas (Houston METRO)

Light Rail Starter Line Operations and Maintenance Plans

Houston, Texas

LTK provided operations planning services to Houston Metro during preliminary engineering and final design for the METRORail system, a 7.5 mile line that opened in January, 2004. The line has 16 stations serving downtown, Midtown, the Texas Medical Center (TMC), the Reliant Park/Astrodome area, and park-and-ride locations, with an initial fleet of 18 light rail vehicles.  As of 2009, daily ridership exceeds 45,000 passengers, making it one of the densest transit operations in North America.

OEA2-HoustonMETROThe Operating Plan defined fleet size, operational requirements for crossovers and tail tracks, service parameters, preliminary operating schedules, normal and abnormal system operations, and characteristics of the signals and traffic control system. The Plan also defined maintenance requirements and served as the basis for developing maintenance staffing levels and support equipment.

The Initial Operating Plan provided the basis for development of more detailed operating documents by METRO staff including the Operating Rulebook, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and detailed plans for yard operations, the Operations Control Center (OCC), failure management and emergency response.

LTK prepared updated editions of the Operating Plan as design progressed, to reflect further refinement of the alignment, modifications to station location and design, and engineering for the traffic control system. The Plan also included a preliminary staffing plan which was based on operational requirements, METRO policies and industry best practices.  LTK assisted METRO in defining essential functions and staffing levels as well as minimum qualifications for each position.

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Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Assessment of Silver Line Phase II Start-Up Planning

Boston, Massachusetts

The Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit system was preparing to open its second phase, a tunnel between Boston South Station and the South Boston waterfront area, when LTK was asked to participate in an assessment of start-up readiness for this service. LTK’s scope was to assist in assessing the status of planning efforts for the start-up and operation of the Silver Line Phase II, now called Silver Line Waterfront.

OEA3-MBTASilverLineLTK performed a brief but intensive independent assessment of project status and schedule, organization, staffing, schedule for start-up and commissioning, with specific attention to operational readiness, training, safety certification, fare system, test program, and security planning.

LTK worked with MBTA planners, managers, and project engineers.  LTK interviewed MBTA staff, reviewed plans and project materials, and considered “best practices” from related rail start-up programs. LTK developed findings and recommendations then prepared a report outlining these findings and recommendations.

A follow-up task included the preparation of a Bus Control Center supervisory handbook of reference information and procedures for Silver Line operation.

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Sound Transit

Central Link Operations and Start-Up Planning

Seattle, Washington

As part of its systems engineering effort for Sound Transit’s Central Link light rail project, LTK provided professional services for operations and maintenance planning and start-up planning.  Central Link is a 15.7-mile light rail line running between downtown Seattle and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The line opened in 2009 and represents the completion of the initial phase of Sound Transit's Link Light Rail system.

OEA4-CentralLinkIn the early stages of the project and in subsequent phases as the system was reconfigured and further defined, LTK prepared operations criteria and plans defining service levels, and associated fleet size requirements.  The plan also identified system organization and staffing requirements and responsibilities.  A companion document required by FTA, the Fleet Management Plan, was prepared, identifying anticipated fleet requirements over the life of the system and during system expansion. 

As it became apparent that Sound Transit would outsource system operation and maintenance, LTK prepared a document defining system performance requirements.  The performance requirements clearly identified Sound Transit’s expectations for the service quality, reliability and safety.  The performance requirements served as a basis for negotiations with King County Metro Transit, which was contracted to operate and maintain the light rail system.  LTK developed an O&M cost estimate which also served as a basis for negotiating annual budget and staffing levels with the County.

In the final stages of system construction, LTK prepared a number of documents to assist Sound Transit with start-up preparations.  These included a Rail Activation Plan, a System Integration Test Plan and a Pre-Revenue Operations and Start-up Plan.  The Rail Activation Plan described start-up organization, individual responsibilities and the specific tasks required to prepare for system start-up.  The System Integration Test Plan identified all tests to be performed to demonstrate that the system will function as designed and meet the needs of the agency.  The system integration tests focused on those tests involving more than one contract and not specifically identified as the responsibility of a particular contractor.  The plan included a summary sheet for each test, the test sequence and a preliminary schedule for performing the tests.  Tests required for system safety certification were so identified.

The Pre-Revenue Operations and Start-up Plan addressed all requirements for preparing the contracted agency to operate and maintain the Link light rail service.  These activities included staffing and training, procedures, equipment and materials, system occupancy, materials management, and pre-revenue system simulation.

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