Analyzing Alternatives for Capital Investments

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)

Strategic Capital Investment Planning, Alternatives Analysis
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Summary

As part of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 – 2030 capital planning process WMATA introduced a new initiative to evaluate alternatives and develop business cases to assess financial impacts and benefits of select potential capital investments. The newly established initiative provides a structured and consistent process for assessing and identifying the optimal alternative to meet Metro’s needs. For each proposed investment, the process includes information gathering from internal and external stakeholders as well as market experts. This information is confirmed and utilized to develop a series of alternatives that efficiently address WMATA’s capital needs. Business cases ensure that a single, fully vetted repository of information required for strategic capital decision making is provided to executive leadership.

The Team, comprised of WSP, The Craddock Group, and Rios Partners, was engaged to assist in developing business cases as formal assessments of proposed capital investments that define the problem the investment would address, evaluate the impact of the investment, and provide recommendations for WMATA Leadership consideration.

Approach

1. Stakeholder Engagement

Engage with project sponsors and/or asset owners to collect data about and define the scope of the proposed capital improvement. Seek input in defining potential alternatives and costs and benefits for analysis and capital program alignment.

2. Market Research 

Conduct market research to understand industry trends and new technology. Contact similar transit agencies, contractors, and manufacturers, and perform field research to determine industry best practices.

3. Data Analysis

Consolidate data and assess costs, benefits, and other impacts. Perform quantitative and qualitative reviews of alternatives. Highlight costs and benefits that align with WMATA’s strategic objectives.

4. Alternatives Analysis

Review draft investment assessment with project sponsors and asset owners to validate information and determine preferred alternative. One preferred alternative is established, the Team will provide relevant implementation recommendations.

5. Leadership Engagement

Communicate findings and recommendations to WMATA leadership through memoranda, reports, and presentations. Support leadership decision regarding business case investment and incorporate initiative into the Capital Program if approved.

12 full business cases and several abbreviated alternatives analyses completed or in progress.

Developed and assessed alternatives to proposed capital projects to help WMATA leadership make informed, data-driven decisions when formulating/structuring the capital program.

Recommended alternatives with the most effective and resource-efficient scope to respond to the identified need for submission into the Capital Planning process.

Suggested implementation strategies for recommended alternatives, when appropriate.

Identified the gaps and risks of proposed capital projects and/or capital implementation strategies.

Clarified scope, need and costs of proposed capital projects through multi-stakeholder engagements.

Messaged and presented business case results, analysis and status to General Manager and other senior leaders.

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Results

Results

12 full business cases and several abbreviated alternatives analyses completed or in progress.

Developed and assessed alternatives to proposed capital projects to help WMATA leadership make informed, data-driven decisions when formulating/structuring the capital program.

Recommended alternatives with the most effective and resource-efficient scope to respond to the identified need for submission into the Capital Planning process.

Suggested implementation strategies for recommended alternatives, when appropriate.

Identified the gaps and risks of proposed capital projects and/or capital implementation strategies.

Clarified scope, need and costs of proposed capital projects through multi-stakeholder engagements.

Messaged and presented business case results, analysis and status to General Manager and other senior leaders.

Associated Capability

Strategy & Financial Management