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2018 T R A N S I T C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 200 Research sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation Subject Areas Public Transportation â¢ Railroads Contracting Commuter Rail Services, Volume 1: Guidebook Linda Cherrington Allan Rutter Curtis Morgan Texas a&M TransporTaTion insTiTuTe College Station, TX i n a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h Emmanuel S. âBruceâ Horowitz esH ConsulT Alexandria, VA James Stoetzel Fingerlakes rail ConsulTing group Georgetown, MA Shelly Brown sHelly Brown assoCiaTes, llC Seattle, WA
TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 200, VOLUME 1 Project G-14 ISSN 2572-3782 ISBN 978-0-309-47993-6 Â© 2018 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, PHMSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The research report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the Transit Cooperative Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. Cover photograph: High-speed train with motion blur outdoors (against the sky). TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM The nationâs growth and the need to meet mobility, environmental, and energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Cur- rent systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must expand service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency to serve these demands. Research is necessary to solve operating prob- lems, adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Coopera- tive Research Program (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to meet demands placed on it. The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special Report 213âResearch for Public Transit: New Directions, published in 1987 and based on a study sponsored by the Urban Mass Transportation Administrationânow the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). A report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Transportation 2000, also recognized the need for local, problem- solving research. TCRP, modeled after the successful National Coop- erative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), undertakes research and other technical activities in response to the needs of transit ser- vice providers. The scope of TCRP includes various transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and administrative practices. TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was authorized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlining TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating organi- zations: FTA; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB); and the Transit Development Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a nonprofit educational and research organization established by APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the independent governing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee. Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodically but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility of the TOPS Committee to formulate the research program by identi- fying the highest priority projects. As part of the evaluation, the TOPS Committee defines funding levels and expected products. Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel appointed by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for propos- als), select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in managing cooperative research programs since 1962. As in other TRB activities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Because research cannot have the desired effect if products fail to reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on disseminat- ing TCRP results to the intended users of the research: transit agen- cies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB provides a series of research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other supporting material developed by TCRP research. APTA will arrange for workshops, train- ing aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are imple- mented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners. TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can cooperatively address common operational problems. TCRP results support and complement other ongoing transit research and training programs. Published research reports of the TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to increase the benefits that transportation contributes to society by providing leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. The Boardâs varied committees, task forces, and panels annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Research for the commuter rail system profiles was performed through TCRP Project G-14, Contract- ing Commuter Rail Services, by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) in association with ESH Consult, Fingerlakes Rail Consulting Group, and Shelly Brown Associates, LLC. Linda Cherrington of TTI was the principal investigator for the project. Allan Rutter and Curtis Morgan of TTI; Emmanuel S. âBruceâ Horowitz of ESH Consult; James Stoetzel of Fingerlakes Rail Consulting Group; and Shelly Brown of Shelly Brown Associates, LLC, were co-authors. Dr. Johanna Zmud, Zachary Elgart, Nick Norboge, and Shuman Tan of TTI contributed to the guidebook. TTI Communications provided graphic design and editing assistance. The researchers thank the project panel and the TCRP program manager for comments and suggestions throughout the project. The researchers wish to acknowledge the many organizations and their staff members who took the time to participate in interviews during the case study research. CRP STAFF FOR TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 200, VOLUME 1 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Gwen Chisholm-Smith, Manager, Transit Cooperative Research Program Keyara Dorn, Program Coordinator Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Natalie Barnes, Associate Director of Publications Linda A. Dziobek, Senior Editor TCRP PROJECT G-14 PANEL Field of Administration Matthew O. Tucker, North County (CA) Transit District, Oceanside, CA (Chair) Douglas âDougâ Allen, Virginia Railway Express, Alexandria, VA Gregg Baxter, First Transit, West Palm Beach, FL Melvin Clark, LTK Engineering Services, Highland Village, TX Cathy A. Hamilton-Kirkaldy, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, TX Michael Harbour, Sound Transit, Seattle, WA John H. Hovatter, Jr., Millsboro, DE Michael Stephen McArdle, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., Boston, MA Teresa J. Moore, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, Pompano Beach, FL Charles Francis Planck, Metro North Railroad, New York, NY Kathryn D. Waters, Baltimore, MD David C. Wilcock, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., Boston, MA Sergio Maia, FTA Liaison Stephen J. Andrle, TRB Liaison
TCRP Research Report 200: Contracting Commuter Rail Services is a two-volume set that presents guidance on the different approaches for providing commuter rail service. The report includes decision trees to assist public transportation agencies and other key stakeholders in determining how to implement commuter rail or evaluate changes in their approach to service delivery of an existing system. Volume 1: Guidebook provides an evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of each potential approach for providing commuter rail service, including the primary functions for commuter rail deliveryâtrain operations, dispatch, maintenance of way, and main- tenance of equipment. Key system attributes are included as a part of the evaluation such as passenger miles, train miles, revenues, infrastructure ownership, and other appropriate criteria that could help the practitioner compare and assess the value of the various ser- vice approaches. The guidebook includes a decision tree analysis to assess local decisions, and discusses trends in contracting commuter rail services. Current trends for contracting commuter rail services and innovative approaches for contracting transportation services applicable to commuter rail are also presented. Volume 2: Commuter Rail System Profiles describes the 31 commuter rail services in North America and the various delivery approaches and also documents a broad range of strategies and approaches for managing the operation and maintenance issues associated with the contracting of commuter rail services. The products of this research will be useful to senior managers and public transportation frontline employees, including operators and maintenance personnel across all modes, all disciplines, and all system sizes. Over the past 40 years, there has been considerable change in the way commuter rail services are provided in the major metropolitan areas of the United States and Canada. Until the early 1960s, commuter rail services in these two countries were owned, operated, and paid for by privately owned freight railroads. Starting around that time, public agen- cies began to subsidize the continued operation of the few remaining trains that ran in only a handful of metropolitan areas. By contrast, the North America commuter rail industry today has significantly grown to 31 systems serving 25 metropolitan areas. Most of these systems contract for all or part of their operating and maintenance services. Until now, there was little guidance or generally recognized best practices for determin- ing how to provide a city or a metropolitan region with commuter rail service. This guide- book presents potential approaches, an evaluation of the approaches, and guidance on how and when to apply them to existing and new services. F O R E W O R D By Gwen Chisholm-Smith Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute prepared this report under TCRP Project G-14 in association with ESH Consult, James Stoetzel of Fingerlakes Rail Consulting Group, and Shelly Brown Associates, LLC. The objective of this project was to develop guidance for use by public agencies and other key stakeholders in the contracting of commuter rail services. To accomplish this objective, literature, research in progress, and current practices related to contracting commuter rail services were reviewed. Thirty-one sys- tem profiles were created on the basis of the literature review. Research also focused on the selection of commuter rail systems for 10 in-depth case studies, which are included in Volume 1 of this set. Development of the guidebook involved direct site visits and in-person interviews.
1 Summary 9 Chapter 1 Introduction 9 Purpose of the Guidebook 9 Research Methodology 9 Benefits of the Guidebook 10 Navigating the Guidebook 11 Chapter 2 History of Commuter Rail 11 Identification of Commuter Rail Systems 11 Commuter Rail Beginnings 13 Modern Era of Commuter Rail 15 Legacy Systems 17 New Starts 19 Summary 20 Chapter 3 Regulatory Environment for Commuter Rail 20 Federal Agencies Responsible for Commuter Rail in the United States 23 Regulatory Environment in the United States 27 Regulatory Environment in Canada 28 Summary 29 Chapter 4 Key Characteristics of Commuter Rail Systems 29 Location 29 Description of Commuter Rail Systems 29 Owner of Railroad Right-of-Way 29 Level of Service 34 Scale of Operations 36 Performance Metrics 37 Summary 40 Chapter 5 Approaches to Providing Commuter Rail 40 Use of Terms 41 Agency Operated Commuter Rail 44 ContractedâBundled Commuter Rail 45 ContractedâUnbundled Commuter Rail 46 Mixed Agency Operated and Contracted Commuter Rail 46 Profiles for Commuter Rail Systems 47 Summary C O N T E N T S
48 Chapter 6 Understanding Factors That Influence Different Approaches 48 Case Study Commuter Rail Systems 48 Factors That Influence the Decision to Contract 52 Factors That Influence the Decision to Bundle or Unbundle 55 Opportunities and Challenges for Each Approach 55 Assessment of the Impact on Performance 55 Summary 57 Chapter 7 Guidance for Decision Tree Analysis 57 Decision Tree Analysis 58 Train Operations 60 Dispatch 60 Maintenance of Way 62 Maintenance of Equipment 64 Decision Tracking Tools 67 Timeline 67 Workforce Hiring and Training 68 Bundle or Unbundle? 68 Support Functions 71 Other Considerations 72 Summary 73 Chapter 8 Trends to Watch 73 Agency Operated New Starts 75 PublicâPrivate Partnerships 76 Procurement Practices 78 Additional Research 80 Acronyms 82 Bibliography and References 84 Appendix A Case Studies 173 Appendix B Decision Tree Tracking Tool