Top 40 Under 40 2013: Brent Boyd

Prior to joining MTS as a senior planner, Brent Boyd worked as a consultant for TMD, a firm hired by MTS to restructure its entire transit network based on market-based principles. The Comprehensive Operations Analysis that he contributed to has been the basis for MTS’s service operations since 2006 and helped establish the agency as an APTA Outstanding Public Transit System of the Year.

Since starting with MTS seven years ago, Boyd has taken on a number of projects that will have lasting impact on transit in San Diego for decades to come.

As part of the team leading the agency’s $600 million rehabilitation of the light rail system, Boyd provided direction for design of passenger-friendly transit centers and light rail stations and is serving in that same role for the Mid-Coast light rail extension.

He has also been solely responsible for design and coordination of bus bridge service during the project, which included a 27-weekend shut down of various stations on the 15-mile Blue Line. Overall, there have been 53 weekend shutdowns across the system over the past two-plus years. Due in large part to his skill, determination and awareness of passenger needs, MTS has received only a handful of complaints despite more than 1.2 million passengers being carried during the project.

When assigned trolley service planning responsibilities, Boyd took part in a week-long immersion class in trolley maintenance and operations, which included actually working with the maintenance crews to repair trolleys.

As a result of his work, Boyd was recently promoted to the position of senior transportation planner/rail operations analyst and is responsible for rail scheduling, planning and performance monitoring. The light rail system has a $60 million operating budget, carries approximately 90,000 passengers daily and more than 30 million annually.

When the agency began to explore the possibility of managing the interregional rail corridor between San Diego and San Luis Obispo, Boyd took over the planning of this potential major expansion of MTS responsibility.

He was the service operations planner of the region’s first rapid bus service which uses the I-15 managed lanes and direct access ramps to speed bus riders through congestion, and helped plan and design the stations along the corridor.

As a service planner, Boyd developed a plan to save the Coaster Connection (shuttle bus to/from commuter rail) service by coming up with a plan that reduced costs by 63 percent and retained 80 percent of ridership. The plan saved $600,000 in operating costs.

Boyd is a frequent participant at industry conferences and has been invited to speak on a number of his projects.

“My job allows me to interact with employees from all levels and many different functions of the organization and I’m constantly inspired by how dedicated, hard-working and intelligent the people I work with are. It’s exciting to go to work every day with this team to provide an important service for the people of San Diego.

“The job is rewarding because we provide an important service and strive to do it well, but also challenging in that we know there is always room for improvement. … the more efficiently we do our jobs, the more service we can provide to the public.

“I like the feeling that I’m making a difference in people’s lives. So many people rely on transit to reach jobs, medical appointments and recreation, and I enjoy knowing that I played some small part to help make those trips happen. I’ve always wanted my career to be one that was focused on doing something that I felt was enriching, interesting and a benefit to others and a career in public transportation has provided me exactly that.

“Working on both long-term projects such as the Trolley Renewal Project and the Mid-Coast light rail extension and such short-term tasks as service operations planning, scheduling and Title VI analyses, it’s fulfilling to know that I have the opportunity and responsibility to help improve the lives of both current and future San Diegans.”