In November, 2005 before an assembly of rail transit managers and engineers, keynote speaker Tom Prendergast — then Vice President, Parsons Brinckerhoff T&RS — declared that the next frontier of railway engineering would be not in the “Big Four” engineering disciplines of Civil, Mechanical, Electrical or even Computer Engineering, but in “Integration Engineering.” Years have passed and while Tom’s words have not yet been fully realized by the transit industry, change is happening.
Today, railway construction projects that have had major construction issues include the now beleaguered Edinburgh, Scotland “Edinburgh Tram” and the recently opened Hampton Roads Transit “Tide” Light Rail. Both projects have suffered from major cost overruns, work stoppages and legal entanglements, much of which can be attributed to a lack of scope clarity, especially utility identification & interfaces, and utility relocations. The lack of coordination for both projects can be traced back to the preliminary engineering level and continued, unchecked through final design and into construction where the lack of coordination and planning was realized too late. [1,2]
Given the complexities of modern railway systems and the well-developed urban and suburban infrastructure where they are typically built, proper integration engineering is essential from the earliest phases of a project and should be carried through to the start of revenue operations and maintenance. There are however, examples of recently completed railway projects that have addressed project integration engineering successfully, finishing ahead of schedule, ahead of budget, or both.
This paper is a continuation in a short series of presentations and papers that will address Railway Project Integration Engineering as a topic and recommend the integration tasks deemed critical to a successful project. The primary subject matter will be the Denver Eagle P3 — the first rail transit Public Private Partnership (P3) in the United States that has recently completed final design and is currently under construction. The materials and techniques to be presented are relatively new, and have already been used successfully in Europe. Should they prove successful with the Eagle P3, this could lower both cost and risk for future North American rail projects.
This first paper will discuss the topic, review modeling techniques that were used to define the project integration process, and will capture the results of final design integration with both successes and difficulties. This paper will also cover the early stages of the Eagle P3 project construction, tie into the model, and attempt to project likely results when construction concludes and testing begins with the ultimate goal of meeting an ambitious schedule and budget when operations commence in January, 2016.