Light Rail Transit: Public Sector Decision Making

Jonathan Histon, Leah Henderson, and Martin Lui
Case revision date: 
2 pages (Case Study)

Typical Cross-Section for On-Road Rapid Transit Passageway 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.

Learning objectives: 

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.

Key words: 
Present Worth, Future Worth, Multi-Criteria Decision Matrix, Environmental Factors, Social Factors, Public Transit
CEAB attributes: 
Economics and Project Management, Problem Analysis, Individual and Team Work
Module 01 - Case Study
Module 02 – Time Value of Money (Restricted to educators only)
Module 03 – Multi-Criteria Decision Making
Module 04 – Multi-Criteria Decision Matrix (Restricted to educators only)
Module 05 – Engineering Communication
Module 06 - Case Assignment (Benefit-Cost Analysis)
Module TN - Teaching note (Restricted to educators only)

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