Light-Rail Transit Planning and Operations for Transportation Professionals [Training for Planners, Engineers, Designers and Technologists]

<< Back to Course Catalogue

After participating in this course, you will be able to:
• use
in master planning and policy formation, your insight into LRT system development.
• apply
transit planning and conceptual design considerations by using relevant industry guidelines, manuals, relevant software
basics and recommended documents.
• apply
your knowledge of environmental and planning approvals processes for transit projects
• use your familiarity of the land use planning framework including Smart Growth and transit-oriented-development

Most transit professional skill development programs prepare individuals with updated analytical planning and engineering design skills for the job market in transit planning and policy development within the private and public sector.

This course focuses on the development of light-rail projects that come out of the recommendations of transportation master plans, LRT operational planning, basic elements of traffic operation and transit scheduling. Planning oriented topics include Smart Growth Planning/ Transit-Oriented-Development Principles, Transportation Demand Management (TDM), Environmental Assessment approvals, Public Involvement, Urban Design, designing Community Visioning Workshops, Ontario Planning Act and the Provincial Policy Statement, Official Plan and Zoning requirements for LRT, Land Use Character Typologies, and Mobility Hub planning considerations.

Engineering and design topics include role of transit in urban areas, classification of light-rail systems, fundamentals of transit performance and operational analysis, service standards, route service design strategies, ridership forecasting, economic benefits, service reliability, service monitoring, operational control strategies and models, innovative application of intelligent transit systems. Participants will gain hands-on skills from the course.

To familiarize participants with the planning, environmental, technology, economics and operations of the Light Rail Systems

Who Should Attend
Business Development and Sales Analyst, Intelligent Transport System (ITS)  Analyst, General Planning Data Analyst, Railroad, Traffic and Transportation Engineers. The following personnel from the Transit service sector: Administration and Management Coordinators, Signal Designer/ Technologists, Simulation Specialists, Simulation Specialists,  Schedulers, Route Designers/ Analysts, Environment Analysts, Operation Specialists and Technologists, Modeling Analysts, Planners, Policy Makers / Analysts, Safety Specialists, GIS/GPS Applications Analysts, Financial and Economic Analysts,  System Surveyors,  Construction Inspectors.

Course Prerequisite
Many transportation professionals are enrolled in urban planning or engineering programs. However, due to the diverse nature of the transit profession, many transit professionals have a background in science, environmental studies, geography, computers, and a number of other fields. They must work with technicians, planning analysts, system design, route maintenance and scheduling, computer programmers, sign makers and installers, transit system installations and construction inspectors. With your background in any of the listed roles, you will add new LRT related planning and analytical techniques to your repertoire as transit professional.

Program Outline 

Faculty: Dewan Masud Karim, City of Oshawa and Chuck Hostovsky, PhD, MCIP, RPP, University of Toronto and the Quartek Group.

Welcome, Introduction, Seminar Preview, Learning Outcomes and the Assessment Method

• Role of transit in urban areas
• Transportation Demand Management (TDM)
• Smart Growth and Transit-Oriented-Development (TOD)
• Identification of transit demand, problems and opportunities
• Fundamental policies and strategies on Light-Rail Transit (LRT)
• Provincial and regional legislation: Planning Act, Provincial Policy Statement, Metrolinx
• Environmental Assessment Act approvals
• Trend in transit demand
• LRT system components and characteristics
• Fundamental of LRT performance and operational analysis
• Fundamentals of environmental assessment of transit projects
• Fundamentals of Ridership transfer to supporting transportation mode and systems
• Related technical documents / manuals/ guidelines: Guidebook on Statewide Travel
• Forecasting, Statewide Travel Demand
• Forecasting
• Transportation Planning Manual

International Trends in the Evolution of Light Rail Transit
• Impact of increasing auto ownership on transit
• Urban transportation policies
• European policies of minimum transit investment
• European policies of parallel highway-transit improvement
• Consistent East-Asian policies on LRT system planning and operation
• Early form of LRT in North America
• Recent rail transit trend in North America: LRT, rapid transit, commuter rail, and automated guide way transit
• Transit improvement opportunities and policy development
• Development of modern LRT system in Europe, East-Asia and North America
• Smart growth and LRT system

Representative Light Rail Systems
• Diversity in LRT systems
• Alternative LRT technologies
• Broad screening criteria and technology selection methods
• Selection of representative systems
• Network coverage
• Corridor comparison techniques and evaluation criteria
• Service coverage criteria
• Importance other feeder transit and active transportation systems
• Selection of connecting technologies and evaluation criteria
• LRT supportive demand management
• Climate change, air pollution and LRT system
• A major new LRT boon
• Planning trends

General Planning Considerations for LRT Operations
• Environmental Assessment - Ontario's Transit Project Assessment Process Regulation 231/08
• Public consultation and community visioning
• Updates on new systems and extensions
• Policy and planning considerations
• Elements of LRT planning
• Urban design and aesthetics
• Evaluation of alternative solutions
• Selection of study area
• Evaluation of existing conditions
• Evaluation of background and future conditions
• Overall transit demand forecasting and route selection, trip generation process and estimation techniques using Excel
• Transit networks: path choice models, trip distribution, transit network assignment, transit network design and assignment
• Basic capacity considerations
• Evaluation of hard and soft infrastructure improvements
• Access control management for other transportation mode
• Related technical documents /manuals/ guidelines: Transit Capacity Manual

Smart Growth Planning and Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)

Ontario’s Places to Grow Act and Metrolinx, the transportation agency of the Government of Ontario

Comparison of LRT with Other Modes
• Comparison of various LRT systems
• Comparison with other modes: Environmental impacts and mitigation, social impacts and mitigation, traffic operation perspective, cost
   comparison, safety comparison, noise comparison
• Service standard comparison: transit service coverage, transit stop spacing, vehicle loading standard, service headway, design capacity
• Social desirability of LRT systems
• Region wide economic benefits of LRT system introduction 

Transit Environmental Impact Assessment and Planning Approval Requirements in Ontario

The Effects of Rapid Transit on Patronage and Activities
• The effects on public transport patronage
• The effects on activities: shopping, employment
• Transit-oriented development and land use
• Social equity for underserved and low-income populations
• LRT as feeder system for regional and interregional rail system
• Importance dedicated system to relief congestion
• Supporting sustainable growth and fiscal responsibility
• Benefits of LRT and sustainable suburban and neighborhood development
• LRT and increase in active transportation uses
• LRT system impacts on local tourism and business development model

Right-Of-Way and Stations
• Types of LRT Rights-of-Way
• Vehicle profile considerations
• Light rail network location options
• Light rail transit stations
• Station dwells: dwell constituents, doorway flow times, analyzing flow times
• Passenger loading levels: standards, space requirements, vehicle capacity, length, loading diversity
• Station limitation: full parking lots, ticketing line-ups, congested platforms, other congestion, no transfers- transfer cost, safety and
   security, long walks – poor access, other stations constraints
• Dwell time: fare collections, platform height, wheelchair effects, advanced traveler information systems
• Intermodal transfer facility

Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs)
• Classification of LRT vehicles
• Current vehicle developments
• Design principles
• LRV compression requirements
• Vehicle subsystems
• (Source: TCPR Synthesis 25)
• Canadian LRV .
• Vehicle standardization
• Boeing LRV

Light Rail Operations
• General operations
• Detail Operational Planning: framework of operational planning, frequency planning, scheduling, route service design strategies,
   ridership planning
• Operations monitoring and control: service reliability, service monitoring, operations control strategies and models
• LRT capacity determination: design versus achievable capacity, Line capacity, train/car capacity, level-of-service concept, selecting
   the weakest link, other capacity issues, single track, signaled sections, on-street operations, private ROW with grade crossing, train length
   and station limitations, wheelchair accessibility effects
• Network performance indicators
• Selected LRT environmental impacts
• ITS applications Traffic engineering and safety
• Other operations and maintenance issues
• Traffic environment and pubic image

Cost Considerations
• Fundamentals of LRT capital costs
• Ranges of unit capital costs
• Impact of operating and rights-of-way variations on capital costs
• Capital costs comparison
• Benefit-costs analysis and congestion relief (Basics TransDEC and TREDIS
• Analysis)
• Rate-of-return: Conventional vs. Stern’s climate change approach
• Economic analysis and long-term benefits
• Health and air pollution benefits
• Financial model
• Preliminary cost analysis and evaluation of economic and financial comparisons
• Project evaluation based on benefit-cost analysis

Project Experience: Industrial Project Practice
• This project will provide students with hands-on experience in transit project planning / traffic engineering industry. A student who takes
   this project experience is required to submit a on-the-spot- project summary. If the student completes the project successfully, he/she will be
   qualified to achieve course certification paper.

Project Experience: Consulting with the Public and the Use of “Visioning” Workshops for Transit Projects

Project Course Contents: Student Will Perform Relevant Exercises with Class Instructor Assistance
• Data analysis and processing by students,
• Project formulation,
• Project approach analysis,
• Methodology of project analysis and techniques,
• Standard manual/ guideline and best practice evaluations
• Verification of analysis results, exhibit preparations
• Evolution of developed solution or designed sample
• Project report writing
• Project report and result presentation

Questions and Answers and Feedback to Participants on Achievement of Learning Outcomes

Daily Schedule:
   Registration and coffee (first day only)
8:30   Session begins
12:00 Lunch
4:30   Adjournment

There will be a one-hour lunch break each day in addition to a refreshment and networking break during each morning and afternoon session. I'd like more information about this course
Course Rating
4.3 out of 5

Overall rating of this course by its previous attendees!

This course can be customized and delivered to a group at your facility saving time and money.


  • Cost effectiveness
  • Quality, customized courses
  • Flexibility
  • Convenience
  • Privacy
  • CEUs and PDHs