Editorial Archive

Keeping large projects on time, on budget is TTC’s goal

3/27/15 6:00 AM

A challenging element of our mission to modernize the TTC is to deliver projects for which critical decisions were made some years ago, but that now require us to make difficult choices.

The problems facing the subway extension of Line 1 to York University and up into York Region have been well documented in recent days. The TTC faced criticism when it had to announce a further delay to the opening date and a request for increased funding.

Such criticism is justified, of course, as we are rightly expected to deliver projects on time and on budget. Our Five-Year Corporate Plan references the need to deliver on our promises and to hold ourselves publicly accountable when we don’t.

There are many reasons why this project is facing the challenges it is. Eighteen months was lost due to difficulties in finalizing funding; that time was not added to the construction schedule. Other contributory factors include a fatal accident at the future York University station site, problems with utility relocation, strained contractor relationships, and two very harsh winters that led to significant slowdowns at some construction sites.

My management team and I are accountable for this project and, while lessons must be learned, it is down to us to finish the job.

Another challenging TTC project relates to the ongoing signal replacement of Line 1 and the introduction of Automatic Train Control. ATC, as it’s called, will increase line capacity by allowing us to run more trains with shorter spacing between them, which will mean less waiting and less crowding for you. When this project was initiated seven years ago, it was structured around a series of highly complex contractual and technical interfaces – not an industry best practice.

We have since simplified this project and how it is to be delivered, while maintaining the benefits of ATC and keeping the project on time and within budget.

Going forward, my view is that the TTC should increasingly focus on its core job of moving people from A to B. That is what we do best and our five-year plan will get our service quality back to what it once was – the jewel in the crown of North American transit.

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