Rail And Transit

Transforming Rail And Transit

We keep the world moving. Whether it’s the movement of goods or people, rail and transit systems connect communities and support the rapid development of our world. And now, as global leaders take action against climate change, fully optimizing our rail and transit systems is more important than ever.

By combining our industry expertise with innovative technologies, we help rail and transit agencies meet the challenges of modernization and environmental initiatives, while ensuring efficient, safe, and sustainable project delivery and operations.

All Aboard The Fast Track To Success

With more than 60 years of experience working in the passenger rail and freight industries, our team understands the challenges and needs of transforming modern transportation systems. Partnering with more than 400 transit clients, we have worked on large, complex brownfield expansion and greenfield projects around the world. Our sustainable solutions reduce emissions, create greater mobility with increased energy efficiency, and provide long-term economic and social benefits.

  • System and Network Planning
  • Design of Systems and Facilities
  • Operations and Maintenance
  • Safety and Security
  • Sustainability
  • Asset Management
  • Public-Private Partnerships (P3s)
  • Construction Management at Risk (CMAR)
  • Design for Electrification
  • Planning and Design of Control Systems and Centers
  • Design and Implementation of Conventional Signaling, Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) and Positive Train Control
    • Facility Power Systems
    • Communications
    • SCADA Systems
    • Vehicle Engineering
Parsons Rail And Transit
Our team delivered project oversight and design-build services for the Houston Metro Light Rail Expansion project.

We provide turnkey solutions including design-furnish-integrate and construction phase services.

Communications-Based Train Control

Rail & Transit
Our team is supporting the implementation of the BART CBTC system, the largest system in North America

We’re leaders in communications-based train control (CBTC), employing a systems-integration approach that leverages advanced CBTC and Railway Traffic Management System (RTMS) technology. We provide solutions for:

  • Automated People Movers
  • Light Rail Transit Systems
  • Metro Systems
  • Mainline
  • Freight Railroads

Bus Rapid Transit

Our innovative solutions have paved the way for a proven track record of quality and experience in bus rapid transit (BRT) and multimodal corridor planning. From initial conceptual design, feasibility studies, environmental assessments, and alternatives analysis to final design, construction support, and construction/project management, we will work with you to meet your goals to improve mobility.

  • Corridor/Operations Planning
  • Station Area Planning/Design
  • Alternatives Analysis
  • Conceptual Design
  • Preliminary Engineering
  • Final Design
  • Transit-Oriented Development
  • FTA New/Small Starts Funding
  • Stakeholder Coordination/Public Outreach
  • Construction Management/Support

Project Highlights

SANDAG Bus-On-Shoulder Pilot: San Diego, California


As a system integrator for bus-on-shoulder enabling technologies, we worked to deploy vehicle to infrastructure connected vehicle (V2I CV), lane departure warning (LDW), blind spot warning (BSW), and forward collision warning (FCW) technologies, making it possible for buses to drive on the freeway transit-only shoulder lanes with minimal changes to the roadway. These innovations improve bus performance – namely, improving travel reliability during peak hours of congestion.

East Colfax Avenue BRT: Denver, Colorado

SanDag Bus-On-Shoulder Pilot
East Colfax Avenue BRT

The 10-mile East Colfax BRT corridor will link downtown Denver, adjacent communities, and the Anschutz Medical Campus along this key east-west transportation route, reducing transit travel time by up to 15 minutes, increasing transit ridership and providing more affordable and reliable access to over 250,000 jobs and community services along the corridor. The project includes 5.5 miles of exclusive center-running BRT lanes, 1.5 miles of side-running transit lanes, 3 miles of side-running mixed-flow lanes, 32 stations, and requires extensive coordination with multiple City and County of Denver departments, FTA, the Regional Transportation District, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and the City of Aurora along with wide-ranging stakeholder coordination and public involvement. We supported FTA and NEPA approvals, as well as preliminary engineering plans, for the locally preferred alternative, and are continuing to provide final design services to put this BRT program into revenue service in 2026.

West Valley Connector Corridor: Ontario, CA

The West Valley Connector project will be a 100% zero-emission BRT system. Phase I of the project is 19 miles and includes 3.5 miles of exclusive center-running BRT lanes, 15.5 miles of mixed-flow lanes, transit signal priority (TSP) and queue jump lanes, and 21 stations. Our team led environmental clearances and preliminary engineering and helped the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) to secure a successful FTA capital improvement grant for $86 million. The project is currently underway with Parsons providing final design services with anticipated revenue service beginning in 2023. The project is intended to provide enhanced transit service in the most heavily traveled bus corridor in the area and improved connectivity with local bus and commuter rail services. 

East Bay Bus Rapid Transit: Oakland, California

East Bay Bus Rapid Transit
East Bay Bus Rapid Transit

With the goal of improving reliability and reducing travel time for residents and visitors to the Bay Area, Parsons completed environmental assessment, preliminary engineering, final design, and design support during construction for the East Bay BRT project. The project converted one traffic lane in each direction to dedicated bus use for a 9.5-mile corridor between downtown Oakland and San Leandro. Including more than 40 new traffic signals, modification of 75 existing signals, TSP at all signalized intersections, and 34 new passenger stations with level boarding, this extensive project has made an impact on transit travelers in the region.

sbX Green Line: San Bernadino, California

sbX Green Line
sbX Green Line

Parsons completed all work on the 15.7-mile sbX Green Line BRT project, which included activities from planning to final design, and a $75M FTA Small Starts grant. The project included 5.4 miles of center-running, exclusive BRT lanes; 10.3 miles of mixed-flow lanes; 23 stations with level boarding platforms; and four park-and-ride facilities. The project is one of only four BRT projects in the U.S. recognized as a high-quality BRT corridor with a Bronze rating. The project also won a regional award for excellence in transportation planning.

Euclid (HealthLine) Corridor: Cleveland, Ohio

We provided project management oversight (PMO) services for this award-winning rapid transit project. The corridor connects the two largest regional employment areas, Downtown and University Circle, and extends to the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East Cleveland. Parsons oversaw the development of the 7-mile corridor including 36 stations, right-hand and left-hand level boarding platforms, and 21 articulated diesel-electric hybrid vehicles. Our oversight team developed staffing plans, utilities management, and construction safety, and risk assessment and mitigation plans. This BRT project was awarded an $82 million FTA New Starts Grant and achieved a silver rating by the BRT Standard.

Zero-Emission Bus

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero-Emission Bus (ZEB) initiative for 2040 represents a new frontier in transportation and sustainability. We recognize that there is no “one size fits all” solution, so we have combined our transit agency expertise, a full suite of tailored solutions, and key specialty partners to help transit agencies make the ZEB transition.

ZEB stats

Our knowledge spans:

  • Electrification Planning and Deployment
  • Utility Demand Management
  • Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Procurement Processes
  • Feasibility Design
  • EV Charging Infrastructure Planning and Deployment
  • Advanced Power Management
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Fleet Electrification Data Collection and Analysis

For decades we’ve worked alongside transit agencies to change the way people move.

Strategy – Planning For Progress

Rail and Transit - Strategy

Deploying ZEB is not a simple one-to-one swap. It’s a complex transition that requires an innovative vision for planning and executing your projects.

With our deep understanding of the transit world, we can help agencies successfully navigate and coordinate across a broad range of technical and regulatory requirements. This includes and is not limited to addressing on route and in-house infrastructure needs.

Facilities – Servicing The Solution

Facility conversion is a critical part of any ZEB transition and comes with many opportunities for innovation in new and existing facilities. But where to start?

Rail and Transit

We help our clients with a variety of assessments ranging from energy efficiency and homeland security, to operations, maintenance, and more.

Beyond assessing facility needs, we introduce new fuel-source capabilities and support the technical and operational adoption of charging infrastructure or hydrogen storage/fueling.

Our holistic approach ensures facility design meets both environmental and operational requirements to drive success.

Power – Leading The Charge

ZEB implementation is fueled by power management and charging strategies. We evaluate bus and route designs and conduct an energy modeling analysis to confirm we are implementing the proper charging strategies that meet the unique needs of transit facilities.

To ensure reliable charging without impacting operations, cost and external power supply should be addressed early, in partnership with local utility companies. Our team will facilitate this collaboration to ensure the best price and proper equipment is provided.

Operations – Smoothing The Ride

Rail and Transit

ZEB is a major shift in technology for most operators. How they drive can impact vehicle range and operational effectiveness. Bus range, route planning, and operator feedback and development must also be considered.

Our extensive background in project management and operational planning equips us with the knowledge and tools to avoid bumps along the way. Our plan includes development of operator and maintenance staff training plans and we provide solutions for reliable service dispatch and operations.

Funding – Investing In The Future

Rail and Transit - Funding

The financial landscape of transportation is complex to say the least. Many factors affect the cost of installation and ownership. Long-term economic and investment planning is essential. Our experts provide a smart business approach with tailored strategies to optimize operational costs.

Utility charges will be among the largest of these costs, so collaboration on utilities incentives and rate structure is crucial.

We bring extensive experience working with local utilities and equipment suppliers to ensure the best possible agreement is negotiated.

Community – Developing Connections

Rail and Transit - Community

Developing and proactively adapting a long-term plan is vital to building and maintaining a trusting relationship with customers and the community.

We compliment the environmental benefits with a clear understanding of social equity, ensuring that access and coverage remain top priorities. We have assembled specialists in the areas of social impact, route planning, and urban planning to ensure we are evaluating each region’s data and user experience in a meaningful way.

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