Transit Operations and Management - Warner Transportation Consulting

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Transit Operations and Management

Marc Warner understands transit's potential and constraints based on more than 25 years of professional and academic experience. His consulting projects in this area date back to the transit performance reviews in the early 1980s when he was an Associate in Booz, Allen & Hamilton's Transportation Consulting Division. He has also worked for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York, and spent two summers on the staff of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston.

The firm offers a range of statistical and other technical skills for application to transit issues. These include analyses of route-performance, development of models to forecast transit ridership and revenue, and the derivation of sampling plans to meet National Transit Database (Section 15) requirements. Marc Warner is an FTA-qualified statistician.

Marc Warner also has a particular expertise in transit labor management. At the MBTA, he developed programs to reduce operator absenteeism, and established incentive measures for contracted operations. His critique of state legislation to abrogate transit labor contracts was published in Transportation Quarterly. Warner Transportation Consulting developed and markets On-Track, a program to forecast transit labor costs under alternative wage, work rules, and service scenarios.

Specific transit-related projects include:

Transit Labor Studies--various clients
Warner Transportation Consulting has conducted labor studies for transit agecies in Cleveland, Austin, Denver, Boston, San Jose, and Tampa. Project tasks have included estimating the cost of proposed labor contracts, identifying wages and practices at comparable transit and local companies, developing negotiating strategies, and analyzing union interests. Marc Warner's work for the MBTA also included his use of the agency's run-cutting software (HASTUS) to identify new spread penalties, part-time restrictions, and other possible work rules that would benefit both MBTA management and labor.

Transit Fare Studies--various clients
Warner Transportation Consulting's fare studies have typically involved the design and analysis of a stated-preference survey, a review of past ridership trends, development of a model for agency staff to conduct their own tests, and presenting the results of the study to agency managers. Mr. Warner has conducted these studies for transit agencies in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis, Portland (OR), Fort Worth, Bangor, Aspen, and he recently conducted his sixth fare-evaluation project for the STIB, Brussels main transit agency. On his last project in Brussels, he designed and analyzed household and on-board stated preference surveys to develop an integrated fare structure between the urban transit system, two regional carriers, and the Belgian national railways.

Transit Origin-Destination Studies--various clients
Warner Transportation Consulting has managed origin-destination studies for five suburban transit agencies near Washington D.C., for two transit agencies (Canton and Dayton) in Ohio, and most recently (2016) for Rhode Island's statewide transit agency. The work primarily involved the development and implementation of on-board surveys and passenger on-off counts. Marc Warner scheduled and supervised all survey staff, conducted the full analysis of all survey results (including geocoding) and documented the results and findings in comprehensive reports.  Warner Transportation Consulting also prepared comprehensive guidelines for the Orange County Transportation Authority's 2018 passenger survey.

Tahoe Passenger Survey
Warner Transportation Consulting contracted in 2018 with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to design, implment, and analyze passenger surveys of the two transit agencies within the TRPA jurisdiction.  To account for different travel patterns and traveler profiles in this major recreational area, the effort involves different surveys in the spring, summer, and winter seasons.  

Assessment of LA Metro planning functions and performance
Warner Transportation Consulting was a sub-contractor on the 2018 perforance audit of Los Angeles Metro.  Marc Warner's interviewed senior Metro managers, identified and reviewed extensive agency planning and budgetary documents, and wrote the audit report sections on planning and programming of transportation funds, tranportation funds administration, and rail construction programs.  

Fresno, CA, guidelines for implementation of self-service fare processing
Warner Transportation Consulting prepared a comprehensive report for policy makers and managers in the City of Fresno and the Fresno Area Express transit agency to implement full off-board fare payment for the planned Q-Line BRT system scheduled to open in 2017.  The 2016 study covered legal
authority, fare inspector staffing and training, enforcement procedures,  penalties and adjudication issues for fare evaders, and the acquisition and servicing of ticket vending machines and other equipment needed.  Marc Warner's report also asked the policy makers to consider seriously if the benefits of all-door boarding and shorter dwell times were really significant enough to outweigh the added capital and operating costs of a shift from standard collection at the fare box.

Boulder County, CO, free transit analysis
Warner Transportation Consulting, Inc. contracted in July 2015 with Boulder County, CO, to determine an equitable and practical means of introducing fare-free transit for all county residents. The effort involved the evaluation of transit service in different parts of the county, accounting for park-and-rides, transfer facilities, and service concentrations at the desination (non-home) trip end. Designation of "transit service areas" for offsetting the foregone fare revenue included consideration of state laws about taxing authority, and tradeoffs between precise assessment of local benefits and the simplicity of applying fees at a larger geographic level.

On-call Transit Management and Operations Services--various clients
As an on-call consultant for the 130 bus Aspen area transit provider (RFTA), Warner Transportation Consulting has managed several relatively quick studies. These studies have included analyzing transit options for the Glenwood Springs area, documenting survey results, examining opportunities to qualify for a Jobs Access Reverse Commute (JARC) grant, recommending an approach to meet FTA requirements for a data collection and modeling program, estimating the effect of limited fare-free service, and preparing material for the Title VI compliance report.  In its most recent study for RFTA, Warner Transportation Consulting is conducting the agency's 2018 comprehensive fare analysis.

Warner Transportation Consulting has also contracted with the Boston (MBTA) and Indianapolis (IndyGo) transit systems to provide on-call transit management and operations studies. For the MBTA, Mr. Warner developed programs to reduce operator absenteeism, and evaluated the monitoring and incentive measures for commuter boats and other contracted operations. He also assessed the MBTA top-management reports, and critiqued the use of state legislation to abrogate the MBTA's transit labor contracts.  For IndyGo, Warner Transportation Consulting has developed procedures for improving reliability of the agency's Automatic Passenger Counters (APCs) and using the data for National Transit Database reporting.

New Starts "Before and After"analysis
Connecticut DOT contracted with Warner Transportation Consulting in January 2015 to document transit ridership patterns and transit rider characteristics in the month prior to the opening of the agency's "Fastrak" busway.  The agency contracted again with Warner Transportation Consulting in April 2017 to see how ridership and riders have changed in the two years since the Fastrak busway opened.  Both efforts involved a rider survey and on-off counts for routes operating near the Fastrak corridor. The comparison allows a clear understanding of how the busway affected transit ridership, and is part of a Congressional and FTA requirement for transit New Start funding recipients.

Shuttle Bus Service Revisions
Warner Transportation Consulting analyzed the six fixed route shuttle services on an around the University of Connecticut Health Center. The recommendations including complete route revisions, on-demand service, modified trip frequencies and service spans offered over $1 million in annual savings while making the service far more responsive to actual travel needs.

Shore Line East Commuter Rail Passenger Survey
Warner Transportation Consulting has had six contracts--one for each year between 2007 and 2012--to design and analyze the annual Shore Line East Commuter Rail Road passenger survey. The survey measures rider satisfaction on a wide range of attributes, and rider preferences for potential service changes. The survey analysis involves regression, gap, and quadrant analysis, which Warner Transportation Consulting documents in comprehensive annual reports.

Pioneer Valley Transit Non-Rider Study
Warner Transportation Consulting managed the non-rider survey for the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority. The job entailed both a telephone survey of 550 service area residents, and an intercept survey of people parking at certain facilities in downtown Springfield and Northampton, Massachusetts.

Logan Express (Boston) Passenger Study
Warner Transportation Consulting directed all aspects of survey design, data collection, and analysis for a survey of passengers on the Logan Express buses serving four park-and-ride locations each from ten 10 to 20 miles from Boston's Logan Airport. The service carries 1.2 million riders per year, and three of the four routes make a profit for Massport. The study involved the creation of a full choice set and a multinonial logit analysis to understand traveler preferences for taking the bus instead of driving to the airport or using other modes. In a subsequent request from Massport, Warner Transportation Consulting prepared a lengthy report, "Rethinking the Logan Air Passenger Study" that recommended new, more efficient alternatives to the agency's traditional approach of surveying 8000 air passengers every three years. Warner Transportation Consulting also managed Massport's 2001 employee commute survey.

San Antonio Transit Operating Policies Study
Marc Warner served as the project manager and principal researcher on a study to examine the effect on ridership of changes in headways, service hours, coverage, marketing, passenger amenities, and fares. The evaluation and development of a model involved extensive review of local data from VIA and San Antonio, research into documented experiences of transit systems elsewhere, and a survey of six southwestern transit agencies about their experiences with certain type of actions of interest to VIA. Results included forecasts of ridership and agency costs in response to the various actions. The study also suggested ways to overcome a false image of the system as having a crime problem, and recommended the planting of trees at bus stops to add to system identity and to offer shade for waiting patrons. The agency and the city followed this recommendation with a $2 million tree planting program.

Transit Subsidies and Funding Formula Studies
For the Pennsylvania Governor's Office, Marc Warner analyzed alternative programs to subsidize local transit operations in Pennsylvania. His report led to changes in state legislation including different programs for large and small agencies, and incentives to ensure that state funds led to increases in service, and not just increases in wages. Mr. Warner has also reviewed taxing and non-traditional revenue generators for the Oklahoma City transit system, and developed a formula for allocating capital funds among New York's commuter railroads and transit provider.

Transit Security Studies
Marc Warner was the principal researcher for the Los Angeles Metro Rail security policies recommendations study. His comprehensive, 150 page report presented recommendations and rationales regarding physical features of facilities and vehicles, policing strategies, operator responses in the event of emergencies, and coordination between the transit agency and local police and fire services. In another project, Mr. Warner developed Baltimore's subway safety assurance plan.

Dallas Bus Ridership and Revenue Forecasting Study
Warner Transportation Consulting developed a set of models for transit planners to forecast ridership for new or revised bus services. The models rely on formulas estimated through regression analyses of existing route-level and segment-level ridership and demographic data. The equations feed directly into the agency's ArcView geographic information system. Note that DART called on Warner Transportation Consulting to analyze and ultimately redo the previous regression analysis done by a firm that lacked real statistical expertise. The revised models corrected errors that undermined the accuracy of the prior forecasts, introduced dummy variables to avoid bias created by their omission, and used a two-stage generalized least squares method to account for service variables included with the independent variables.

The Role of Amenities in Encouraging Transit Ridership
On a project for the US Department of Transportation's Transit Cooperative Research Program, Marc Warner designed and analyzed innovative surveys for gauging the value of transit amenities. Mr. Warner's research identified passenger amenities and transit vehicle characteristics that attract ridership, evaluated their relative impact on ridership, determined their relative cost-effectiveness, and provided the transportation industry with practical tools to assist transit professionals and policy makers in analyzing investment decisions.

Glens Falls Rider Needs Study
Warner Transportation Consulting designed and analyzed an on-board survey about transit service quality and the effect of local advertising for Greater Glens Falls Transit. Marc Warner devised the survey plan and the schedule for all survey staff, conducted all analysis and authored the final report.

Maglev system concept design
Warner Transportation Consulting prepared detailed estimates of costs to operate and maintain a proposed magnetic levitation train system under different operating scenarios. Marc Warner conducted all research, wrote the report, and devised a cost model to account for on-board operations, operations control, energy consumption, maintenance of equipment and way, station operations, general administration, insurance, and marketing.

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