MKC Associates
Mary Kay Christopher
President, MKC Associates 
MKC Associates is a transportation planning consulting firm specializing in transit service planning.  Ms. Christopher founded the firm in 2005.  In partnership with its clients, the firm develops solutions to improve transit service performance for the mutual benefit of the transit agency and transit customers.   The firm provides expertise in planning new services, evaluating existing service, analyzing transit performance, service restructuring plans, market research, operations & maintenance costs, public involvement, facility planning, environmental justice and fare policy.  Prior to forming MKC Associates, Ms. Christopher was employed for 25 years by the Chicago Transit Authority.  As General Manager of Service Planning, she was responsible for the planning and design of all bus and rail services at the Authority.  In this capacity Ms. Christopher made recommendations to the CTA Board to improve operations and increase capacity of the system.  


  • Master of Urban Policy & Planning (specialty in Transportation), University of Illinois at Chicago, 1981
  • Bachelor of Arts, Geography & Urban Studies, Elmhurst College, 1977
    • Transportation Research Board:  Member, Transit Fleet Maintenance Committee
    • Transportation Research Board:  Member, Transit Management & Performance Committee
    • American Public Transportation Association:  Member, Marketing & Communications Committee
    • Arterial Rapid Transit Study:This project will study the proposed Pace Arterial Rapid Transit Network and recommend the most feasible corridors for successful Bus Rapid Transit service.  MKC Associates will provide technical expertise on the potential of each corridor to effectively operate bus rapid transit.  The study will include analysis of Pace ridership, service levels, transit connections, traffic generators and corridor infrastructure.
      • Client Reference: Tunde Balvanyos, Pace
        550 West Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, IL
    • Red, Orange and Yellow Line Extensions Alternatives Analysis: This project will conduct an Alternatives Analysis for each of the three rail extensions desired by the Chicago Transit Authority:  Red Line extension to 130th, Orange Line extension to Ford City shopping center, and Yellow Line extension to Old Orchard Road.  The role of MKC Associates is to perform operations planning activities for each of the three study areas.   This includes analysis of current and proposed bus services, review of station facilities, and evaluation of advanced technologies to improve system performance.
      • Client Reference: Jeff Busby, Chicago Transit Authority
        567 W. Lake Street, Chicago, IL
    • Planning Transit Services that Meet Community Goals: This project involved production of a webinar presentation and publication of a handbook to educate stakeholders about transit planning methods and issues.  The webinar presentation provided an overview of the planning process, transit infrastructure, policies and strategies, and the relationship between transit and land use to a national audience.  The handbook describes the elements of transit service planning and the development process. 
      • Client Reference:   Anne Canby, Surface Transportation Policy Partnership
        1100 17th Street, NW, Washington, D. C.   20036
    • Indianapolis Transit Alternatives Analysis: This project performed an Alternatives Analysis study for the Indianapolis Northeast Corridor.  Thirteen technology and alignment alternatives were analyzed including BRT, AGT, LRT, and LRT Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU).  The role of MKC Associates was to develop estimated running times, conceptual schedules, and operating and maintenance costs for the thirteen alternatives.
      • Client Reference:   Amy Inman, Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization
        200 East Washington Street, Suite 1821, Indianapolis, IN
    • Incorporating Bus Transit Service in Land Development Planning: This Transit Cooperative Research Program Synthesis identifies strategies and practices employed by transit properties that enable the successful integration of bus transit service into new developments.  It addresses how transit service planning for development takes place, and documents the design guidelines currently in use.  Transit agencies and other stakeholders provided input to describe the current state of the practice. 
      • Client Reference:   Donna Vlasak, Transportation Research Board
        500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
    • Twenty-five years experience with the Chicago Transit Authority in all aspects of transit operations planning (April 14, 1980 to April 31, 2005).
    • Managed the planning and design of all CTA bus and rail services, which comprise over 140 bus routes and seven rail routes.  Recommended changes to the system to optimize operations efficiency and customer satisfaction.
    • Managed the technical planning analysis for two New Start project proposals, the Douglas Branch Reconstruction (Blue Line) and the Ravenswood Line Platform Expansion (Brown Line).
    • Managed the Lakeshore Corridor Bus Restructuring project for a total cost of $2.5 million per year.  The service improvements resulted in ridership increases in the corridor of over 12% within the first year.
    • Directed the collection of market research data to meet agency requirements.
    • Responsible for the collection and analysis of ridership data used in all aspects of performance monitoring.  Directed the design and implementation of systems to improve data collection techniques, data analysis, and reporting methods.
    • Presented plans to the CTA Board, elected officials and the general public.
    • Coordinated public participation efforts. 
    • Christopher, Mary Kay.  “Transportation Challenges.”  American Planning Association Conference, Chicago (Presentation), April 2002.
    • Christopher, Mary Kay.  “Transportation Opportunities at UIC.”  University of Illinois at Chicago (Presentation), October 2001.
    • Christopher, Mary Kay; Foote, Peter J.; Stuart, Darwin.  “Structuring and Assessing Transit Management Response to Customer Satisfaction Surveys.”  Transportation Research Board (Paper Presentation), Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., 1999.

    Mary Kay Christopher