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15 CHAPTER FOUR AGENCY USE OF ASSET TRACKING AND CONDITION ASSESSMENT DATA Age and condition data can provide help for transit agencies future SGR analysis. The survey did not include follow-up in several ways. It can help establish the level of need for questions for these agencies. It may be that assessing SGR infrastructure investments in terms of ongoing asset replace- backlogs is not a priority for these agencies. It may also be that ment and rehabilitation needs. This estimate and supporting these agencies do not have personnel with the technical skills documentation can provide a compelling argument and sup- or knowledge to perform this analysis. There may also be other port for increased funding. It can also support the program- reasons as well. ming of cost-effective investment when available funding is constrained and not sufficient to support the implementation of The survey revealed that the analyses of SGR backlog all needed projects. were beneficial to the transit agencies. Nineteen agencies (nearly 60%) reported that their asset condition system was used to change capital funding priorities to improve their AGE AND CONDITION DATA USE SGR. The examples of the use of the data ranged from a Questions were asked in the survey about how the responding detailed use for a pin replacement in rolling stock to address- agencies use the age and condition data. Specific choices were ing larger strategic issues such as changing a station capital provided in a yes/no format. The respondents were also given investment strategy from station rehabilitation to station com- the opportunity to provide information on other uses. ponent replacement. An ongoing need for most transit agencies is more capital Although the majority of the respondents reported that funding. More than 83% of the respondents reported that their their agencies estimate replacement and renewal (SGR) back- agencies use the age and condition data to support appeals for logs, the responses to two specific questions raised concerns more funding (Figure 12). about the quality and detail of these estimates. More than two- thirds of the respondents reported that their agencies use The analysis of infrastructure needs can provide support for inventory and condition assessment data to estimate replace- funding appeals and can also help transit agencies manage their ment and renewal (SGR) backlogs (Figure 13). Based on assets and capital programming more effectively. More than these responses, it might be expected that these agencies 85% of the respondents reported that their agencies assess their could provide estimates of the current replacement value of infrastructure needs. The survey did not include follow-up the agencies' assets and of the values of SGR backlogs. How- questions about the types of assessments that were performed. ever, only 31% of the respondents (11 agencies) provided val- ues for these estimates. Many transit analysts believe that the the analysis of unfunded replacement and renewal needs (often termed SGR There may be several explanations for the low response. backlog) is an important part of infrastructure needs assess- Some respondents may not have provided the estimates for ment. The analysis helps agencies identify assets that are not reasons of confidentiality. Other respondents may have not in SGR and determine how much funding is needed to address had access to the values that resided in other departments in this problem. This analysis can also project future backlogs their agencies. and needs for increased funding. A less favorable explanation is that the respondents inad- More than two-thirds of respondents reported that their vertently overstated the level and detail of the SGR analysis agencies use inventory and condition assessment data to esti- being performed by their agencies. For example, the respon- mate SGR backlogs. Similar percentages of agencies reported dents may have believed that having a count of assets that are making estimates of current backlogs and projected future operating beyond their useful lives is a good estimate of SGR backlogs (see Figure 12). These responses may suggest that backlog. assessing the SGR backlog is important to many transit agencies. Regardless of the possible explanations, the responses to these two questions were disappointing and may suggest that Conversely, approximately one-third of the responding very few large transit agencies are performing rigorous analy- agencies do not use condition data for any type of current or ses of current SGR backlogs.