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.
As 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.