In June 2003, the Waterloo Regional Council unanimously adopted the Regional Growth Management Strategy (RGMS), a long-term strategic plan for accommodating future residential and employment growth. The RGMS concluded that rapid transit was a necessity, as “continuing with road expansion alone was not a realistic or affordable option to manage growth” (see Figure 1). Light Rail Transit (LRT), was approved as the preferred solution by the Waterloo Regional Council in 2009. Public opinions surrounding implementation of the new transit system were collected from September 2010 until May 2011 and it was found that the main concerns included cost implications, health and environmental impacts, and the impact on the community. As a resident engineer of the Waterloo Region, you must decide whether you do or do not support the preferred LRT option using appropriate financial analysis to help evaluate the best option.
This case study illustrates the complexity of engineering decision making when taking into account environmental, social, and economical factors. This is illustrated through a public sector transportation project decision.