Essay On Metro Rail System

Introduction

Projects are normally considered successful if these are delivered on time, within budget, with all the functionality and achieving the set targets originally decided. In order for it to be deemed as a success, it must provide value to all the stakeholders. In broader logic, project success is intangible, realized through consensus, collaboration and communication. Delhi Metro is one stunning example of a success lesson to be learned. Delhi Metro Rail, whose first stage is completed, has shown what the success is all about. The fact provided that such a high profile project is not only completed well before time but within the proposed budget. It has shown what a project can achieve, earning praise from all sectors of life.

Background

'Delhi Metro Rail Project' is by far the biggest urban intervention in India. This project was completed in very difficult urban environment. It is being constructed to world class standards with frontline technologies. Delhi's shiny metro system's first section was completed well ahead of schedule and within estimated budget of $2.3 billion, is a very rare example of how big projects can be efficiently completed.

Delhi is the capital of India and has a population of around 16 million people and until recently this huge cosmopolitan city had to rely on the existing roads for transport. The total length of roads in Delhi was around 1623 kilometres in 2005. There was always a problem from the ever increasing number of vehicles plying on its roads. The number of personal motor vehicles has increased rapidly to 4 million by 2005. The public transport already in place couldn't cope with the growing number of vehicles. This existing mass transport system was found to be inadequate to tackle the congestion on roads and the ever increasing pollution caused by automobiles.

Stifling road traffic congestion, large population, had become an economic liability. With more motor vehicles than Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai combined, overcrowding and pollution was threatening the capital's ability to reach its potential in the rapidly expanding Indian economy. Thus the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was set up. Government of India joined hands with Government of its capital city, Delhi to establish DMRC on 5 March 1995, to build a rail based metro transport system in the city that will alleviate Delhi's ever growing transport congestion and vehicular pollution. Construction started on this project in October 1998 after more than forty years of studies into a rail-based mass transit system and the first phase was completed in December 2004. It was designed to integrate with other public transport. It is to be constructed in four phases which will cover approximately 245 kilometres and is scheduled to be finished in year 2021. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is one of the four metros in the world to have operating profits among 135 metros globally. It started generating profits ever since it became operational. Building the metro rail system in Delhi has been a massive construction project drawing workers from across India. DMRC's responsibility not only consists of construction but also of its operation and maintenance. It employs 350 staff in its construction department and 3000 personnel in operation and maintenance. Led by the understated Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, a 77-year-old civil engineer, the subway enjoys strong government support and is not shackled by the delays, cost-overruns and red tape that have plagued big projects in India for decades.

Success Factors:

Project managers usually use 'time and budget' criteria to identify project success often ignoring what factors lead to a successful project. They also do not tend to realize that it is critical to understand what the stakeholders consider as a successful project. A key performance indicator (KPI) is a common term for criteria used to measure the benefits of a project. Delhi Metro system has grabbed the imagination of modern urban developers and planners in India. Several state governments are following the lead and pushing ahead with ambitious projects to ensure inexpensive and efficient transportation system. The success of Delhi Metro Project has triggered off a rush for setting up similar networks across the major cities in India to ease out transportation problems. Delhi Metro is the world's first metro system to be awarded ISO 14001 certificate of environment friendly construction and operation. The mission for Delhi metro is to cover the whole of Delhi with a Metro Network by the year 2021. Other aim for the metro is to be of world class standards in regard to safety, reliability, punctuality, comfort and customer satisfaction. It managed to achieve what it was planned to developed and much more: Saving commuters hours and reduced journey times, annual fee saving, reduction in pollution, road accidents decreased, safe and comfortable travel for passengers. Almost 100% of trains arrive on time at platforms, quite strange in Indian environment. The stations are cool, quiet and there is no vendor operating his unlicensed stall and shouting as seen in almost all stations in India. The success of this project depends on number of factors including cutting multi-layered bureaucracy levels and retaining much authority because the federal and state government have joint control. The decision making process is very fast in metro's administration because there is no political pressure and no unnecessary meddling into the scheme by neither the state government nor the federal government. A previous attempt at a metro in Kolkata ended with less than 20 km of line built in 23 years and 12 times over budget. The failure was blamed on political meddling, technical problems and bureaucratic delays. The other factors that contributed to the overall success of the organisations are: It is being constructed according to world class standards with frontline technologies; It has slim but effective organisation; Ineffective bureaucratic layers eliminated from the organisation; Fast track decision making process; Ample delegation of powers; Accountability with delegation; Punctuality is practiced; High premium for integrity; Aid such as computers, cell phones transport liberally given; International standards of housekeeping at construction sites; International standards in fire safety, quality and finish; Very strict quality audit; General philosophy - success of the project depends upon the success of the contractors; A rigid screening process for inducting staff and officers; Integrity given a high premium in the selection; Training and exposure in the appropriate areas and high level of communication and coordination. For successful project management, Delhi Metro's investigation studies and planning were perfect and changes were needed during the execution of the project. Funds were available at time and Government's essential commitment and support to the project was present. It recognised the importance of PR and legal affair and there was no political interference. The most important factor for the overall success of the Metro was that the leader was correctly chosen and empowered. Sreedharan has attained almost hero-like status. Surveys show he is one of India's most respected figures. The facilities provided by the Metro are modern and easily accessible for disabled passengers. It is probably the only corporation involved with transportation in India that has incorporated accessible design in its facilities. Train doors are automatically shut and open as it is scientific and computer-friendly. Such is the technology employed by the DMRC that there is complete computerisation of all its activities in the operation stage. Human resources, maintenance, stores, accounts and project execution is interlinked and fully computerised to avoid manual delays, heavy documentation and duplication of inter-departmental activities. These are rarely found in any public sector company. Other advanced features include: The trains feature automatic doors, secondary air suspension and brakes controlled by microprocessor. The coaches are designed to possess many advanced features such as CCTV cameras having eight-hour backup, charging points for cell phones and laptops, air-conditioning and heaters during winter. Each train can accommodate about 1,500 people, 240 being seated and maximum speed is 80km/h. Despite practical difficulties, the project is a success. Some other factors contributing to the success of the Metro Rail project are cheap manual labour, good infrastructure of the city, wide roads, and technical expertise of the contractors, sufficient funding, proper planning, and alternate sources of income like real estate lending and advertisement on trains and stations. Passengers travelling by Delhi Metro have been provided by various facilities and services which attract customers and can be considered as a success factor which fosters the success of the project. These are: Smart Cards for frequent commuters, RFID token for single cheap journey and Tourist Card for a short period of time.

Fish-bone diagram showing the most important sucess factors of Delhi Metro Project


Conclusion:

The second phase that will cost $4.5 billion and boasts a high-speed airport link beneath the Capital's chaotic roads, is on track for when the city of 16 million hosts the 2010 Commonwealth Games. About 1 million commuters will use metro in year 2010 carrying 8% of city passengers. The project is proving to not only meet the anticipated aim of attracting former road users and reducing road casualties in areas it serves, the Metro is also stimulating economic development in proximity to stations. The success of Delhi Metro is thought to have inspired greater support for mass transit systems. India has many projects now in the planning stage or under construction. With confidence in the completion of Phase 2 being on schedule or earlier, Delhi Metro seems likely to reach a master plan target of 413km including all the phases by 2021. All the above mentioned factors combine to give an idea that the DMRC project is an outstanding success in all aspects such as social, economic, environmental, etc.

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This article is about the transit system in Houston. For other uses, see Metrorail.

METRORail is the 23.8-mile (38.3 km)[4][not in citation given]light rail system in Houston, Texas (USA). As of 2015, the METRORail has an average weekday ridership of 56,600 and total annual ridership of 18,335,000.[5] After Dallas' DART Light Rail, METRORail ranks as the second most-traveled light rail system in the Southern United States and the 12th most-traveled light rail system in the United States.[5] METRORail is operated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO).

History[edit]

This line was built after an approximately 20-year battle,[6] starting in 1983 when Houston voters rejected a rail plan by referendum.[7] A voter referendum in 1988 approved a 20-mile (32 km) light rail plan;[8] however, Bob Lanier was elected mayor in 1992 and stopped the plan.[7] In 1991, U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay removed $65 million in federal funding for the rail line.[7] Then, Houston drew up a rail plan with entirely local funding. In 2001, several groups sued to stop construction, claiming that the METRO organization was a "private business" and subject to Houston City Charter provisions regulating business use of its streets;[9] they obtained 2 temporary injunctions in January 2001, which were reversed by appeals court on March 9, 2001.[9]

Ground was broken on the original 7.5-mile (12.1 km), 16-station portion of the line (from UH–Downtown to Fannin South) on March 13, 2001.[10] The opening of METRORail, which took place on January 1, 2004, came 64 years after the previous streetcar system had been shut down.[11] The cost was $324 million.[12] Houston was the largest city in the United States without a rail system after the 1990 opening of the Blue Line in Los Angeles.

Tom DeLay strongly opposed construction of the METRORail line and twice blocked federal funding for the system in the United States House of Representatives.[6] Thus the Metrorail was built without any federal funding until November 2011 when a $900 million grant was approved for expansions, under the executive order by President Barack Obama.[13]

In spite of the opposition of some groups to the Metrorail, surveys conducted by Stephen Klineberg and Rice University have shown consistent increases in support of rail transport and decreases in support for bigger and better roads/highways in the Houston metropolitan area in recent years.[14][15][16] Klineberg considers these changes a "paradigm shift" or "sea change" on attitudes towards mass transit.[14][16][17]

Construction began on the 5.3-mile (8.5 km) and 9-station North/Red Line Extension from UH–Downtown to the Northline Transit Center Station in July 2009. This extension opened on December 21, 2013 (ahead of its projected "early 2014" opening), increasing the line to its current total of 12.8 miles (20.6 km) and 24 stations.[18][19][20]

The 6.6-mile (10.6 km) Purple Line, with 10 stations, and the 3.3-mile (5.3 km) Green Line, with 9 stations, began construction in July 2009.[21] Both lines, together costing $1.3 billion, share a track segment in downtown, then run east and diverge.[22] After numerous delays, all but two stations on the eastern end of the Green Line opened on May 23, 2015, while the remaining stations entered service on January 11, 2017 after the construction of an overpass.

Operations[edit]

The light rail line operates all 7 days of the week. It begins operations at 3:30 a.m. weekdays and 4:30 a.m. weekends and ends service at 12:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday nights, 2:45 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights and, 12:30 a.m. Sunday nights. Scheduled train frequency varies from 6 minutes during the day to 20 minutes off-peak.

The scheduled time for an end-to-end trip through the entire 12.8-mile (20.6 km) Red Line[20] is on average 55 minutes.[1]

METRORail operations are controlled from Houston TranStar, a traffic and emergency management center for the city and surrounding region.[23] Trains have priority signalling at intersections except for six stations near the downtown medical centers.[23][24] At prioritized intersections, traffic lights for road traffic in all directions turn red when a train passes.[24]

Route and infrastructure[edit]

The Red Line is a 12.8-mile (20.6 km)[20]double-tracked, 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge line with 24 stations[1] approximately 12 mile (0.8 km) apart, running from Fannin South to the Northline Transit Center Station. Almost the entire route is at grade and on city streets. The original 2004 portion from Fannin South to UH-Downtown is entirely at ground-level and at-grade with street traffic. However, on the North/Red Line Extension (from UH-Downtown to Northline Transit Center two small portions are elevated: the Burnett Transit Center station [25] and a small section of track between Melbourne/North Lindale and Northline Transit Center on Fulton Street.[26] Power supply is from 600/750 volts DC overhead wires, with nine substations (for the original 2004 portion).[23] The line follows Main Street for 8 stations from UH–Downtown to Wheeler Station, then follows Fannin Street for the remainder of the original route until Fannin South. Northbound trains run on San Jacinto Street (rather than Fannin) for a small section of the route between the Wheeler and Museum District stations. The North/Red Extension runs along North Main Street until just after Quitman Near Northside, then turns onto Boundary Street until just before Fulton/North Central, and then runs along Fulton Street until Northline Transit Center.[27]

Significant businesses and institutions along the Red Line route include the University of Houston–Downtown, Houston's restaurant district near Preston Station, the Downtown Transit Center, Houston's museum district, Rice University, Memorial Hermann Hospital, the Texas Medical Center and NRG Stadium.

A Park and Ride parking lot is available at one station: Fannin South.[28][29] It has approximately 1,200 parking spaces.[23] Parking fees included a daily rate of $3 and a monthly hangtag contract of $40. The Burnett Transit Center will have a Park and Ride facility next to the Casa de Amigos Health Center, scheduled to open in late 2014.[25]

For the original 2004 portion of the Red Line, the architectural firm Pierce Goodwin Alexander & Linville, of Houston, Texas, was in charge of the final architectural/engineering design and design support, with a $2.3 million contract.[23] However, all stations south of Burnett Transit Center were designed by the Houston office of St. Louis-based architectural firm Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum.[30] All stations are of similar design—250 feet (76 m) long and partially covered by glass roofs. Station length was constrained by the distance between crosswalks in downtown city blocks; station platforms are low-floor and 350 millimetres (14 in) high.[23]

The right-of-way and the stations for the original 2004 line were built by three contractors for approximately $115 million: Texas Sterling Construction Co. of Houston, Bencon Management of Houston and Beers Construction Co. of Atlanta.[9] The line construction was divided into five sections, with a resident engineer for each section, to speed up construction.[23]

The 6.6-mile (10.6 km), 10-station Purple Line, and 7 stations of the 3.3-mile (5.3 km), 9-station Green Line opened on May 23, 2015.[31] The final two stations of the Green Line opened on January 11, 2017.[32]

Tracks on all three lines are usually in the center of the street; however, the southbound tracks between the Wheeler and Museum District stations run along the left side,[33] and the downtown Houston tracks along Capitol and Rusk streets run along the south side of the streets. Furthermore, the tracks on Capitol and Rusk run in mixed traffic, sharing a lane with buses and other vehicles, like streetcars.

The light rail lines can handle three-minute headways during peak hours[34] and have a design capacity of 8,000 people/hour in each direction while using two-car trains with such a headway.[35]

A yard and a maintenance facility for the Red Line is connected by loop track to the south of the Fannin South station,[33] and two storage yards are located at the termini of the Green and Purple lines.

Fares[edit]

The standard fare for this rail line is $1.25 for both cash and MetroQ Fare Card riders; $3 for a Day Pass. The discount fare of $0.60 available for MetroQ Fare Card riders who are seniors 65-69, disabled, Medicare cardholders or full-time students (elementary, high school and university); $1.50 for a Day Pass. All discount riders must show ID (except for elementary and high school students).[36] Free transfers to METRO buses are available with the MetroQ Fare Card only, for 3 hours in any direction.[37] Paper transfers from buses were accepted from July 2015 to March 2016 on a trial basis boarded for free: before noon good until 15:00, after it to end of service day. The MetroQ Fare Card holders can earn "Rider Rewards" of 5 free trips for every 50 paid trips.[36] Tickets and cards are purchased from machines at the stations. No charge applies to Texans/Dash/Dynamo home game days with game ticket, nor to seniors over 70 or to children under 5 who ride with an adult (limit 3).

Fare collection, like most light rail systems in the United States, is based on a proof-of-payment system: METRO's fare inspectors randomly check tickets and cards aboard trains. Failure to pay the fare is a Class C Misdemeanor and is subject to a fine of up to $500. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on the train platform and subject to the same fine as a Class C Misdemeanor.[38]

Ridership[edit]

In the first year of METRORail, ridership, though increasing from 12,102 in January to 32,941 in October, tapered off slightly in the last two months of the year, and "fell short of the 35,000 goal transit officials had set" in early 2004, according to the Houston Chronicle.[39] The line reached 75 million boardings in December 2011, four years ahead of schedule,[40] but throughout that year, ridership numbers remained flat or showed small decreases.[41] By 2012, average weekday ridership was 36,250.[42]

The North/Red Line Extension exceeded ridership projections by 62% in the first month of operation, averaging 4,200 weekday boardings in January 2014; this was 1,600 more boardings than projected for the extension through September 30, 2014 (the end of the METRORail's fiscal year).[43]

Notable records in ridership have occurred on the following dates:[44]

  • February 1, 2004: 64,005 passengers rode the METRORail to Super Bowl XXXVIII
  • February 23, 2004: 54,193 passenger boardings were recorded, the highest weekday at the time
  • February 27, 2007: 56,388 passengers were recorded the day of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
  • March 15, 2012: 70,611 passengers were recorded; many of whom attended the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and a performance by The Band Perry after the rodeo at the Reliant Park sports complex.[45]
  • March 19, 2014: 76,925 passengers were recorded due in part to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.[46]
  • February 4, 2017: 109,500 passenger boardings were recorded during Super Bowl LI

Rolling stock[edit]

METRO currently operates three generations of light rail vehicles. All of them are double-articulated, 70% low-floor vehicles with four low-platform doors per side to provide level boarding.

H1 series[edit]

The original fleet of 18 vehicles was built by Siemens Transportation Systems (a division of Siemens AG of Germany) in Sacramento, California. They were delivered in 2003–2004, for the opening of the first stage of the Red Line,[47] at a cost of $118 million.[9] Designated by the manufacturer as S70 and based on earlier vehicles built for Portland's MAX Light Rail, each vehicle is 96 feet (29 m) long and has a top speed of 66 mph (106 km/h).[48] They have a capacity of 72 seated and approximately 169 standing passengers, or a total capacity of around 241 per car.[23][49] This approximately 250-person capacity has been reached on certain Super Bowl weekends.[50]

The H1 series cars are distinguishable by their streamlined cab ends and rectangular headlamps, with the electronic destination sign (which have been modified to indicate the line with a colored square) mounted directly in front of the cab rather than above it. They are normally used only on the Red Line and can be operated as single cars or in trains of two cars coupled together, though two-car trains have become the norm due to increasing ridership and the arrival of the H2 series.

H2 series[edit]

In the spring of 2011, METRO purchased a further 19 Siemens S70 vehicles (the same model as its original 18), citing the need to accommodate ridership that was 4 years ahead of expectations and to get cars more quickly.[40] These cars were originally slated for Utah Transit Authority's TRAX system, which METRO purchased for $83 million after UTA decided not to exercise options for them.[48][51] As with the previous generation, these new cars were built in Florin, California,[48] but they differ slightly from the cars Utah received in detail, including having more air-conditioning units.[40] They were delivered in October 2012 and entered service that December.[52]

The H2 series cars are shorter than the H1 series, at 81 feet (25 m) in length, and are distinguishable by their flatter cab ends and circular headlamps, with the electronic destination sign (which use colored dots to indicate the line) conventionally mounted above the cab. Like the H1 series, they are normally used only on the Red Line and can be operated as single cars or in two-car trains. The H1 and H2 series are electrically compatible and can operate together in the same train.

H3 series[edit]

For expansion of the METRORail system, METRO turned to CAF USA, with a total order of 105 cars placed in May 2010.[53] This order was cancelled in February 2011 as it did not comply with the "Buy America" Act. CAF gave a refund, which METRO applied to the purchase of the H2 series cars.[54]

In September 2011, METRO approved the purchase of 39 vehicles from CAF upon receipt of a new proposal compliant with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and "Buy America" guidelines.[55][56] The first six of these cars were delivered in January 2015[57] and entered service shortly afterwards.[58]

Houston MetroRail Cars at Northline Transit Center on Fulton near Crosstimbers (January 2015)

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