Red Line and Orange Line Infrastructure Improvements Program Vehicle and Wayside Capacity Analysis

At a Glance

  • Client(s)
  • Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
  • Project Location(s)
  • Boston
LTK-designed railcarPutting new vehicles in the lineup. 

The MBTA Red and Orange Lines, which intersect at Boston’s Downtown Crossing Station, are two of the most heavily used in the rapid transit system. While planning a major fleet acquisition, the MBTA needed to know how many additional vehicles could be operated on each line to maximize passenger-carrying capacity.

LTK performed a comprehensive analysis of the lines, including strategies for improving throughput capacity. LTK’s work began by documenting existing dwell times at capacity-critical locations, then modeling existing operations using the LTK TrainOps® software. The TrainOps analysis included detailed representations of each line’s vehicles, dispatching, schedules and infrastructure.

Concurrently, as part of the procurement of new rolling stock for the Red Line and Orange Line, LTK’s engineers investigated whether improved cab signal functionality could reduce required braking distances, which could also help improve throughput.

LTK and the MBTA identified strategies to significantly increase capacity on both lines. Prior to the study, the MBTA had contracted with CRRC to build 152 new Orange Line cars and 132 new Red Line cars. After the completion of LTK’s work, the MBTA expanded the Red Line order by an additional 120 rail cars, some of which will be used to expand service.