APTA | Passenger Transport
The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis August 10, 2012
Forward   |   Calendar   |   APTA Home   |   Advertise with Us
Meet Thomas C. Noll!

Thomas C. Noll
Director of Technical Support and Capital Programs
Port Authority of Allegheny County
Pittsburgh. PA
Leadership APTA Class of 2011

How many people does your agency employ?
Approximately 2,400

How long have you worked in the public transportation industry?
17 years

How long have you been an APTA member? 17 years

What drew you to a career in public transportation?
Prior to coming to the Port Authority, I worked for a small city where I got involved in capital projects that made improvements for the residents. I enjoyed that but, around the same time, I saw a position available at the Port Authority focusing on capital projects and programming. The authority had a very aggressive capital program then, including the rehabilitation of one of the LRT lines, the construction of a new busway, and several large state of good repair projects. I applied for the job and have been here working in capital projects and programming ever since.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource—that helps you do your job?
The conferences and the associated committee meetings, as well as participating in Leadership APTA. It’s nice to be able to attend the conferences and speak with vendors and contractors to discuss new projects and new approaches, using the latest technologies. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about industry trends and get others’ opinions of the challenges you or your organization may be experiencing.

Participating in Leadership APTA has given me a whole new network of contacts that I can access for help, information, or to share ideas. It also provided me with a greater exposure to people at all levels in the industry. Through the program I was provided the opportunity to interview agency CEOs from agencies of all sizes, gaining insight on the various challenges agencies are facing across the country.

Please explain why or how this has helped.
The authority uses multiple APTA standards developed by the various committees. For example, my department uses the APTA Standard for Rail Transit Structure Inspection and Maintenance as the basis for developing and implementing the authority’s comprehensive Bridge and Structure Inspection Program. We also used the APTA Standard for Heavy Duty Transportation Escalator Design Guidelines as the basis for the escalator design for the North Shore Connector expansion project.

These two examples are part of the Manual of Standards and Recommended Practices for Rail Transit Systems developed by the Fixed Structures Inspection and Maintenance Committee and represent an industry consensus on practices to help rail transit achieve a high level of safety for passengers, employees, and the general public.

What do you like most about your job?
Implementing the projects, and it doesn’t have to be a large one. We often implement capital projects for the Operations Division, such as purchasing new shop equipment or rehabilitating older facilities, and I believe these efforts can really help the maintenance folks put out the daily service.

Also, I like seeing projects through from start to finish. A lot of them will be around for an awfully long time, and it’s gratifying to know I had a part in making them happen. For me, getting involved in these improvements means I’m working to enhance the quality of life for the people in and around the Pittsburgh area.

What is unique about your agency?
What is unique about our service area is the city’s weather and topography. The downtown area is fairly compact—with narrow streets—and we’re surrounded by three rivers and mountains. The Pittsburgh area can experience hard winters with snow and ice storms as well as hot, humid summers. To provide service in and around Pittsburgh, we own and maintain 81 bridges or portions of bridges and nine tunnels; we have 50 miles of track and 18 miles of busway. We also own two inclined planes, one of which is the oldest continuously operating one in the country!

Daily commuters, as well as tourists, use our inclines to gain access to their homes, restaurants, and sightseeing. The authority has mixed-use tunnels, stations, and fixed guideways. To operate and maintain all these facilities and to deal with this very difficult topography, the Port Authority owns many different pieces of equipment, and ensures that its employees receive the training to operate them.

Our light rail vehicles, for instance, are equipped with sleet cutters. The system has switch heaters to melt the snow and ice, we have a brine truck to pre-treat our right of ways and bridges, and we can deploy as many as 40 pieces of snow removal equipment if needed. We also stay prepared for hillside stabilization issue because of rock and mud slides.

Depending on weather conditions, putting out service can be unique each day, especially during the winter.

Make sure you see Thomas C. Noll's video, now that you've read this!

« Previous Article
Return to Top
Next Article »
» The city of Santa Monica, CA, seeks a transit facilities maintenance supervisor. [More]
» The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has several positions open, including superintendent-power, signal, & communications. [More]
View more Classified Ads »
TO PLACE AN AD: E-mail or fax the requested date(s) of publication to: ptads@apta.com or FAX to (202) 496-4898. Mailing address is: Passenger Transport, 1666 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006. Ad copy is not accepted by phone. DEADLINE: Noon, Monday, one week prior to publication date. INFORMATION: Phone (202) 496-4819.
© Copyright 2011 American Public Transportation Association
1666 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 496-4882 • Fax (202) 496-4321
Print Version | Search Back Issues | Contact Us | Unsubscribe