consulting services

Surry planning game As a freelance consultant in North America, or as a Principal Consultant with MRCagney in Australia/New Zealand, I provide a range of advice and assistance to anyone who needs to think clearly about transit. 

With the flexibility and low rates of a small firm, it’s very easy to engage me for even very small pieces of work, such as to be on call to advise on projects or provide expert review of a piece of work being done by your staff or another firm.  I can also play an expert role in larger consulting teams.

My areas of greatest expertise include:

  • Network design, including not just the inductive geographical problem-solving required but also the process of explaining the work and building understanding of it.  I have been designing transit networks for 20 years.  Basic elements of my network designs still operate successfully in many cities, including Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Antonio, Spokane, large parts of suburban southern California, and Australia’s national capital, Canberra.  
  • Transit goals clarification and policy development.  For over a decade I’ve been innovating around the specific question of how to help elected officials, stakeholders, and interested citizens think more clearly about their goals for transit, and especially with how to handle predictable conflicts between different goals.  I believe that clear thought about these inevitable tradeoffs is the basis of sound and resilient policy.  Some of this work is summarized and explained in my 2008 Journal of Transport Geography paper “Purpose-driven public transport: creating a clear conversation about service goals,” which is here:    Download Purpose-driven public transport creating a clear conversation about public transport goals-8 

  • Land use planning with attention to transit opportunities and impacts.  Land use planning, even for projects that claim to be transit-friendly, often contains mistakes that undermine transit.  Sadly, an easy “rule-book” for how to avoid these mistakes is missing, though it’s something I’m working on.  Considering transit’s geometry early and fully in a project can also form the basis for new design insights that produces a better outcome.  My track record of such work includes new suburban areas as well as dense rapid-transit station areas, in both North America and Australia.  An introduction to my approach to the subject is here, and you can find discussions of a range of cases in the category Be on the Way.

  • Strategic long-term planning for transit.  Great long-term plans aren’t just a list of capital projects to build.  They establish an inspiring vision and offer tools that help people act now in ways that will serve the long term goal.  Because transit is so integrated with other aspects of urban life and infrastructure, strategic plans don’t have to be done by transit agencies; in fact, I’ve worked on several for city governments, including those of Minneapolis and Seattle, as well as the first comprehensive strategic transit plan for the Australian capital, Canberra.  I discussed some of the big issues in strategic planning here.
  • Speaking and writing in ways that inspire and inform.  A video that shows my speaking style is here.  Browsing the blog will reveal a range of writing styles for different purposes.  Note in particular the Basics category, which is devoted to explanations of the fundamental geometry of transit and the choices that it requires us to confront.  I am currently working on a book expanding on these issues, for Island Press, due out in late 2011.
  • Fun, interactive short courses in transit network design.  I teach a one- or two-day intensive workshop that gives participants the opportunity to wrestle with network design challenges in an interactive setting.  It’s ideal for professionals and activists who are interested in transit but suspect they don’t know enough about how and why transit networks are designed the way they are, and how their own decisions may be affecting transit outcomes. It can also be great for young people interested in exploring the profession.

My complete CV is here:   Download JW CV 2012-1

Please contact me if you’d like to inquire about how I might assist your work.  I’ll be happy to provide additional references and suggestions specific to your needs.  Just use the contact button up on menu bar, or click the link to my firm’s website.

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