Five lessons from stage one LRT

A new report has outlined some lessons learned while implementing stage one of the city’s light-rail project, in hopes they will be applied to stage two.

Here are five lessons Deloitte and Boxfish Group learned from stakeholder interviews:

Better budgeting: The city potentially missed out on higher funding commitments from the province and feds because its initial cost estimate didn’t include inflation or financing and transaction costs. The city’s affordability cap later helped save the city money, though, since it disqualified bid teams who surpassed $2.1 billion.

Risky business: The city offloaded most risks to winning bidder Rideau Transit Group (RTG) by using a “gated risk ladder” that pitted teams against each other to assume the most risks – including for the 2.5-kilometre tunnel. This strategy should be employed again, the report said.

Green means go: If the city wants to promote green innovations, it has to make them mandatory, the report found, since there was little incentive to be energy efficient in stage one. Bidders also need to account for peak power costs, since Ontario charges based on time of use.

Bundle of joy: Bundling the Hwy 417 widening into the stage one contract was “innovative and successful,” the report said, since RTG had all the power to avoid delays. Similar bundling is ideal for any infrastructure projects that could impact stage two.

Operator on board: Stage two discussions should include OC Transpo as soon as possible, particularly regarding service levels, customer experience, vehicles and safety, the report said.

The city approved a functional design for stage two in July, and the federal government has committed to funding one third of the $3 billion project.

This article originally appeared on metronews.ca on Dec. 13.