Client: Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit)
The Richmond Parkway Transit Center is a park-and-ride facility owned by Caltrans, maintained by AC Transit, and utilized by multiple transit operators as well as private carpoolers in the I-80 corridor. AC Transit asked a team led by ARUP to re-evaluate the feasibility of earlier plans to expand the facility by building a 600-space garage on the site.
Transportation Analytics conducted the financial analysis that synthesized the conclusions and assumptions of the engineering and technical work earlier in the study. Our flexible spreadsheet model provided the ability to test multiple scenarios and conduct sensitivity analyses. The model showed the impact of AC Transit policies such as the requirement to include the re-capitalization costs and demonstrated the implications of different inflation assumptions. Testing a wide variety of options provided reassurance to decision-makers about the merits of a down-sized approach.
As an outgrowth of the Bay Area’s regional Transit Sustainability Project, Solano County transportation officials sponsored a project to coordinate planning for the five transit operators in the County by aligning their Short Range Transportation Plans into a single composite effort. The study also focused on comprehensive planning for the Solano Express intercity bus services jointly funded by multiple jurisdictions in Solano County.
Transportation Analytics prepared the bulk of the financial sections for each operator’s SRTP, including 10-year operating budget forecasts, year-by-year capital programs, and detailed fleet plans. While each transit operator maintained responsibility for their own performance metrics and service planning, a significant effort was made to harmonize forecast assumptions and key inputs across jurisdictions. In particular, the integrated financial model developed for this project that accounted for the evolving details of Solano Express service plan, fleet replacement, and financial contributions. The model also showed the combined capital program for all five operators and identified the total unfunded capital need by project type, which will help STA advocate for funding more effectively in the future.
Under a task order funded by MTC, Transportation Analytics joined Transportation Management & Design, Inc. in assessing the risks and benefits of potential changes in the structure of local transit service delivery in Marin County. Specifically, proposals were being considered to transition some service hours currently provided by Golden Gate Transit to Marin Transit’s contract operator, and concerns had been raised about organizational capacity and service quality impacts related to the change.
The TMD team assessed the impacts of the transition on customers, employees, operations, functional responsibilities, and physical assets. Transportation Analytics’ role included evaluating the provision of customer service functions and researching available vehicle fleets to validate service capacity under different service scenarios.
Caltrain is one of many transit operators in the Bay Area that continues to experience budget strain because of the instability of State and local funding sources. Its present sustainability challenge is particularly acute due to its reliance on voluntary pass-through contributions from three other local operators, who are themselves grappling with unprecedented deficits. A permanent source of dedicated funding for Caltrain must be found if this valuable and otherwise successful transportation service is to continue.
SVLG is a policy advocacy organization that has long championed improved public transit in the Silicon Valley area to support economic growth and quality of life in the region. They launched a ‘Save Caltrain’ campaign to address the multiple areas that impact Caltrain’s financial health, and they requested support from a number of industry experts, including Transportation Analytics and our lead on this project, Nancy Whelan Consulting. Our team analyzed over 20 potential funding sources to determine which options are most suitable in terms of factors such as technical feasibility, economic efficiency, and revenue yield.
Client: Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)
This study was part of VTA’s Comprehensive Operations Analysis (COA), a market-based effort to systematically review all transit services in the County, in this case highway-based commuter bus services. Major employers in Silicon Valley have begun to offer high quality transportation options to help attract good employees, and VTA wanted to evaluate their own services with the goal of growing ridership and partnering with employers to offer a comprehensive transit network. After the team completed the market analysis and strategic direction assessment, Transportation Analytics provided the financial analysis of operating costs and revenues that helped shape the proposed 2015 Operating Plan. In particular, we developed an interactive planning tool that was used to identify a cost-neutral scenario, and we quantified the impact of multiple options for interim deployment of network improvements. The first phase of route improvements launched in early 2012.
The Transit Sustainability Project was a major regional effort to conduct a systematic assessment of the 28 transit operators in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a particular focus on future cost-containment and strategies to make services more customer-oriented. Multiple consulting teams were engaged to develop recommendations for financial, service, and institutional strategies, and to provide technical assistance to local agencies. Transportation Analytics provided services on three separate consulting contracts. First, Ms. Dorinson collaborated with Cambridge Systematics on the development and roll-out of their Transit Competitiveness Index tool. This web-based application helps planners understand the demand factors that influence travel in local and regional origin-destination markets. Ms. Dorinson provided all of the user training and support for the tool and developed the final report documenting its key capabilities. With Parsons Brinckerhoff, Ms. Dorinson helped research institutional best practices at peer transit agencies. In particular, she highlighted innovative mechanisms to foster collaboration between transit agencies in ways that leverage peer experience and help to reduce costs. Finally, with Transportation Management & Design, Inc., Ms. Dorinson supported the Transportation Authority of Marin in assessing the potential risks and benefits of potential changes in the structure of transit service delivery in Marin County. She evaluated the provision of customer service functions and helped research available vehicle fleets.
Flexible Carpooling is the use of an innovative set of technologies that supports the formation of ‘on-the-spot’ carpools, in an effort to better utilize existing road capacity. Transportation Analytics contributed to a preliminary feasibility study that addresses the key implications of implementing such a system in the United States. Using a case-study approach focused on five congested corridors in the San Francisco Bay Area, we developed a generalized cost model based on a data analysis of the key local drivers of transportation mode choice. The model shows how existing and potential commuters would be impacted by alternative system deployment options, as well as major market forces and selected commuter characteristics. The combined scenarios illustrate how different implementations of flexible carpooling result in varied impacts to the five case study corridors.