City of Portland

Portland Streetcar

Portland, Oregon

The Portland Streetcar service, a 2.4-mile line with a total of seven cars, has been in operation since July 20, 2001. LTK provided assistance to the City of Portland during all stages of the project.

OMC1-PortlandSCLTK’s efforts to assist the City of Portland in planning and implementing for the trolley line began in 1990. Following a feasibility study conducted by LTK, conceptual design standards, capital and operating cost estimates were prepared for several lines being evaluated to provide a network of vintage trolley routes that could be developed incrementally to serve as local distributors and people movers within downtown Portland and adjacent neighborhoods.  Preliminary engineering and operations planning were completed for a circulator line to link downtown Portland and its immediately adjacent neighborhoods using new low-floor streetcars.

LTK was involved in the final design, specification and procurement of the new streetcars, the traction electrification system, traffic signal interfaces and a streetcar maintenance facility. The OCS work included five 90-degree crossings and used building attachments instead of poles in a number of areas. In areas where poles were installed, the pole design was coordinated with artwork using totem pole sculptures covering the poles. Firm specialists provided expertise during the design, construction and testing of the multi-colored low-floor cars, built by Inekon/Skoda in Plzen, Czech Republic. The cars are 66-feet long bumper-to-bumper and just over 8 feet wide. Double-ended and double-sided, the streetcars feature two trucks per vehicle, both powered. LTK staff also helped coordinate the signal protection system for the crossing with TriMet light rail vehicles.

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Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority

Evaluations of Option for Twin Cities - Red Wing Inter-City Rail Passenger Service

Red Wing, Minnesota

Red Wing, Minnesota, is located approximately 42 miles southeast of Saint Paul on the Chicago – Twin Cities mainline of the Canadian Pacific Railway System.  A charming and picturesque city situated on the Mississippi River, Red Wing is a tourist and casino destination from the Twin Cities.  In addition, several communities located between Red Wing and Saint Paul have growing commuter populations working in the Twin Cities. This corridor is served by Amtrak’s Empire Builder, providing one round trip daily. This route is also part of the proposed Midwest High Speed rail system between the Twin Cities, Wisconsin, and Chicago.  Line capacity improvements associated with development of a local inter-city service could potentially support the eventual High Speed service. 

OMC2-RedWingPicSince it is already an established rail corridor, the concept of establishing inter-city passenger service in an incremental way is attractive.  The Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority commissioned LTK Engineering Services to provide an evaluation of the potential for a rail passenger service between Red Wing and Saint Paul Union Depot, including an assessment of issues associated with a potential extension of trains from Saint Paul to Downtown Minneapolis.  LTK prepared a report identifying service objectives, alignment and rolling stock alternatives, operations issues and costs.   Key challenges for this service include freight traffic congestion in the mainline junction area east of Downtown Saint Paul, and capacity issues between Downtown Saint Paul and Downtown Minneapolis.  The report was presented to Ramsey County in January 2008.


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Metropolitan Council

Twin Cities Transit Master Plan O&M Cost Estimates

Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota

LTK’s involvement with transit in the Twin Cities extends back to 1985. The firm assisted in developing LRT systems plans for the Twin Cities by conducting a series of studies that defined “starter lines” in individual corridors.

OMC3-TwinCitiesIn 2007, the firm was tasked with supporting the Twin Cities Transit Master Plan, including development of Operations & Maintenance (O&M) cost estimates for 26 potential corridors, including 18 light rail corridors and 8 commuter rail corridors. While the specific methodologies used to calculate the O&M costs for the two rail modes are somewhat different, LTK created an accounting framework where all common elements were treated consistently, regardless of mode.

Annual light rail O&M costs were calculated by applying the 2007 Twin Cities area operating cost per Revenue Vehicle Mile to the Annual Revenue Vehicle Miles calculated for each corridor independently. Vehicle miles were calculated for each corridor using the following inputs:

  • Corridor length,
  • Span of service (accounting separately for weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays),
  • Headways by time of day, and
  • Train consists.

Because there was no commuter rail operation in the Twin Cities at the time of the study, the commuter O&M cost estimate methodology could not use recent historical operating costs, as was done for light rail.  Instead, LTK developed a formula which replicates the effects of the main O&M cost drivers: length of line (track and infrastructure maintenance); fleet size (including both cars and locomotives); and Annual Revenue Train Hours.  The model included additional allocations for General and Administrative overhead.  Commuter rail service was based on specific inputs for peak period, peak direction service, as well as reverse peak service.  Additional inputs included midday, Saturday, Sunday and holiday service levels.  

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Modern Transit Partnership (MTP) and Capital Area Transit (CAT)

Capital Area Transit Corridor Two O&M

Harrisburg and Lebanon, Pennsylvania

OMC4-CatCorridor2GraphicModern Transit Partnership (MTP), in association with the Cumberland-Dauphin-Harrisburg Transit Authority, also known as Capital Area Transit (CAT), commissioned Gannett Fleming and LTK Engineering Services to analyze alternative transit strategies for the 27-mile long Harrisburg -  Lebanon, PA corridor.  Potential transit rights-of-way included a busy mainline rail freight carrier and various highway alignments.

LTK developed a detailed operating budget based on the preferred alternative.  LTK based the detailed cost projections on our extensive knowledge of commuter rail operating practices and cost structures.  LTK customized these projections to the specific parameters of the corridor to develop the following estimates:

  • OMC4-CatCorridor2PicTrain operations staff count based on the equipment characteristics and hours of service
  • Mechanical force staff count based on equipment type and fleet size
  • Maintenance-of-way staff count assuming agency-owned infrastructure
  • Administrative expenditures assuming staff blending with an existing transit operation
  • Allocated costing for shared corridor and facilities
  • Other professional services and administrative expenditures
  • Energy consumption and expenditures

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Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)

Rail System Analysis

Santa Clara County, California

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) provides bus and light rail transit service within Santa Clara County, located at the south end of San Francisco Bay.  The 42-mile light rail system serves the central business district and civic center of San Jose, the residential areas to the south and east, and the “Silicone Valley” technology campuses to the north.  Its five corridors include exclusive rights-of-way in freeway median, operation in transit mall and local street median governed by traffic signals, and four sections of single track.  Three service lines provide links to VTA bus lines and employer shuttles, and connections with Caltrain, Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) and the Amtrak Capitol Corridor regional rail services.  Future connections will be provided to the planned BART extension into San Jose. OMC5-SanJoseVTA

In 2008, VTA requested proposals for professional services to perform a comprehensive operations analysis of its light rail system.  LTK, as part of a larger consulting team, was selected to manage this effort following a highly-competitive selection process. 

The objective of the study is to recommend a strategy that is two-fold:

  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing service, by attracting more ridership while controlling operating costs, and.
  • Position the system to provide the service capacity necessary to meet projected increases in demand through 2035.

The scope of the study includes a restructuring of the existing services as well as moderate capital improvements.  Service considerations include the addition of express and skip-stop services, rearrangement of service patterns and the closure of lowest-ridership stations, all with the objective of improving the travel times for the majority of riders.  Capital improvements include: double-tracking the single-tracked sections, relocating one station to improve the transfer to regional rail, and right-of-way improvements to enable trains to operate at higher speeds in the downtown mall, in-street and along the freeway.  Two line extensions, one new station and grade separation at key locations are also being examined. 

Ten system scenarios have been defined for analysis, based on inputs from the VTA Operations, Planning, and Construction departments and the BART Silicon Valley Rapid Transit Corridor (SVRT) project, as well as the results of a preliminary analysis of travel demand in the service area.  Service and operating plans for each scenario were then developed, including yard put-ins, yard lay-ups, equipment cycling and detailed train schedules.  Using sophisticated simulation software, LTK then calculated run times for each service and identified any operational constraints that may occur due to express and local service co-location, or conflicts at merge points, intersections and junctions.  The resulting travel times are being used to forecast ridership for each scenario.

Three of the most promising ten scenarios will be selected by VTA for further analysis.  Capital costs and annual operations and maintenance costs will be estimated, along with the development of a financial risk analysis.  Additional network simulations will be performed to more closely examine service coordination and scenario modifications.

Throughout the project, the consultant team has held a number of workshops with VTA management and staff from stakeholders departments to discuss, refine and select the scenarios for further study.  This has proven to be very effective in guiding the project, providing a forum for open discussion of agency objectives and requirements, feedback on early task findings and recommendations, and direction on future tasks. 

In addition to overall project management, LTK’s work products include simulation model results, operations and maintenance costing at various projected levels of service, operations analysis and evaluation of the adequacy of infrastructure, capacity analysis of the light rail fleet, and an evaluation of technical requirements to raise maximum speeds from 55 mph to 65 mph.  

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