Keeping public transportation systems in a state of good repair is essential to sustaining existing transportation services, providing mobility, and supporting livable communities. Transit agencies find that service reliability, on-time performance, and safety are strongly influenced by the condition of capital assets. Insuring that transit infrastructure is in a state of good repair is essential for sustaining and increasing transit ridership. As public transportation system assets progressively age and deteriorate, the capital funds required to maintain these assets in a state of good repair are typically much greater than the funds available. Assets such as vehicles, stations, fixed-guideway systems, maintenance facilities, and fire/life/safety systems must be maintained and replaced. The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Rail Modernization Study Report to Congress (April 2009) evaluated the nation’s seven largest rail operators and found a backlog of over $50 billion. Public transportation systems of all sizes and all modes face significant annual backlogs. Considering constrained budgets, how should public transportation systems prioritize their investments? How can these needs be communicated to decision makers and the public? Public transportation systems of different sizes and modal composition need a framework for prioritizing the rehabilitation and replacement of existing capital assets and methods to assess the consequences (positive and negative) of various investment levels on key indicators of transit service and performance. Investment decisions should reflect a concern for transit operations and system performance as well as other factors such as legal mandates, environmental sustainability, social justice, and technological advances that affect the prioritization process.
The objectives of this research was to (1) develop a framework for public transportation systems to prioritize the rehabilitation and replacement of existing capital assets and (2) identify methods for assessing the consequences (positive and negative) of various investment levels on key indicators of public transportation service and performance.
TCRP Report 157: State of Good Repair: Prioritizing the Rehabilitation and Replacement of Existing Capital Assets and Evaluating the Implications for Transit. The report includes four Microsoft Excel models including a prioritization model (that prioritizes a set of transit asset rehabilitation and replacement projects across multiple asset types) and three additional models that provide information on rehabilitation and replacements costs and priorities for specific asset types. The report and tools are available here (http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/167637.aspx).