Shoal’s international transportation industry partner, Anne O’Neil, features in this month’s cover story of Engineers Australia’s Create magazine. In an article titled Ticket to Ride, Anne discusses how systems engineering was applied in creating a new 14km underground line with 16 passenger stations on the eastern side of Manhattan Island, a project known as the Second Avenue Subway. Beyond the usual engineering challenges in building public transportation systems in complex urban environments, the difficulty was compounded by the need to integrate with existing networks and decades-old technology on the largest and most crowded subway system in the US.

The project realised that a paradigm shift into systems thinking would overcome these difficulties. This would allow for a focus on understanding political and public expectations, operational goals and limitations, and technical constraints before deciding on operational and technology solutions. This led Anne to establish a systems engineering capability for New York City Transit as the agency was challenged by rapidly evolving technology and legacy interfaces. The systems engineering approach could then capture the required functionality and performance of the network early in the project. In January of this year, New York successfully opened the initial extension of the Second Avenue Subway with three more extensions yet to be built.

Anne is a systems engineering catalyst and strategist – committed to building systems capacity within infrastructure sectors. A global industry advisor, she guides organizations adopting or enhancing their systems capability, systems practices to positively transform business outcomes.  Anne has over twenty years of experience working in the energy, and in intelligent highway and transit infrastructure sectors; she formerly served as INCOSE Board member.