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18 CHAPTER FIVE CASE STUDIES Detailed case studies of two of the largest 50 transit agencies, This approach did not appear to provide adequate funding the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and for maintaining the existing system. It was deemed likely that the New York City Transit Authority (NYCT), were under- a backlog of SGR investments was being created. taken as part of this synthesis. The MBTA SGR project is an analytical approach for identifying capital reinvestment needs and setting investment priorities. The FTA cited the MBTA Purpose SGR project as the most comprehensive approach being used in the U.S. transit industry. In 1997, aware of the likely imbalance caused by expansion activity, the MBTA commissioned a study to determine the NYCT is the largest transit authority in the country. In the condition of its asset base and to develop an interactive SGR last 25 years it has undergone a remarkable change from being database. The goal was to: in a state of disrepair to a much higher state of repair. The tool used to track and monitor this transformation is its Asset Con- Assess and monitor the true condition of the Authority's dition Databases, which is covered in the second case study. assets. Define in monetary terms the SGR backlog for the agency overall, by asset class, and on an asset by asset- CASE STUDY: ASSET CONDITION DATA specific basis. COLLECTION AND TRACKING Estimate the funding necessary to return the system to a AT THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY state of good repair over a defined period and to main- TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY tain it thereafter. Background Articulate the case for additional funding. Advocate for a permanent switch in the priorities of the The MBTA is the country's fifth largest transit authority and capital program from expansion to investment in the carries approximately 1.3 million passengers daily. It is fully existing infrastructure. multi-modal, providing heavy rail, light rail, bus, trolley bus, Select projects to be included in the Capital Investment bus rapid transit, commuter rail, demand response ADA Program based on the priority ranking provided by the (Americans with Disabilities Act), and ferry services. It pro- system. vides transit services to eastern Massachusetts and commuter rail service that extends to Rhode Island. It has a 5-year capi- tal plan of approximately $3.8 billion and an annual operating SGR System/Database budget of $1.6 billion. The asset tracking/condition assessment system that was In 1995, the MBTA devoted a substantial portion of its cap- developed is an interactive database that tracks assets, their ital program to expansion or enhancement to the current sys- useful life and condition, and calculates replacement values tem. Several large projects were undertaken simultaneously over time. The SGR database helps the MBTA assess the including: implications of various planning scenarios (i.e., for specific dollar amounts or an unlimited amount) and time periods A new bus rapid transit line with a one-mile tunnel, (5-year or 20-year). Three new commuter rail lines including stations and rolling stock, and The design of the database uses an age-based definition The rebuilding of a number of existing stations as part of of SGR that involves funding renewal and replacement an ADA program. actions at specific years during an asset's life. Assets are: Owing to the level of expansion activity, the funding available Renewed at critical midlife ages (e.g., engine replace- for investments in the existing infrastructure had shrunk to ments 6 years, roof replacements 15 years). about half of the overall capital program. The other half was Replaced at the end of their useful life (e.g., buses devoted to expansion. 15 years, bridges 50 years).

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19 The SGR database uses age as the major measure of condi- related to signaling and communications. Such projects and tion. The default values can be changed if a specific asset (or asset types were selected based on a consensus of MBTA class) needs to be retired earlier (or later) than expected. These senior management and have not been changed significantly exceptions are based on a management evaluation of the over the use of the database. asset's condition. The results are provided in graphic and table format, and The MBTA does not have any specific rules for making can be provided at the system level, by asset type (e.g., track, these exceptions. The exceptions do require a detailed analysis rolling stock), service mode (e.g., commuter rail), and ser- of why a different service life should be used. This analysis, vice mode area (e.g., Blue Line). These output features were which typically would be prepared by operations management, included to make it easy to prepare focused and consistent is discussed and reviewed by senior management. presentations of the results. It was expected that there would be ongoing communication with decision makers about the The individual asset data in the database includes the fol- MBTA's progress toward meeting SGR for the entire system lowing information: as well as for specific asset types, service modes, and service mode areas. Count of each asset. "Condition" measures (age, service life). The funding scenarios can be set in two dimensions: Project "action" costs Replacement/renewal costs 1. Funding Levels. The scenario can assess the implica- Cash flow in years in which expenditures are made. tions of unconstrained funding or specific funding by Data for ranking measures year (e.g., $4 million in 2010, $4.1 million in 2011). Ages as percent of service life 2. Asset Categories. The scenario can assess the implica- Operational impact--yes/no for whether asset is tions for all assets or for an asset category (e.g., power, essential to operations rolling stock). Cost-effectiveness--cost of action per rider impacted. Mode (e.g., subway, light rail, bus, and commuter rail). Management at the MBTA reported that it would useful Service area (e.g., Red Line or Green Line). if the scenarios generated by the SGR database identified the Asset type (e.g., rolling stock, station). cost benefits of funding or not funding specific projects to help inform agency managers and stakeholders. The original The SGR scenario analysis is a sequential programming software is now being modified to include a component process that looks at SGR required actions by year. The pro- that will identify the reduction of corrective maintenance gramming steps for each year are: costs resulting from the funding of one new investment over another. Identify candidate projects, either replacement/renewal actions that come due in the analysis year or delayed Impact/Use projects from prior years. Score and rank projects using the ranking measures. The study and database took 2 years to complete. In 2000, the Fund safety-critical projects regardless of their ranking SGR database and its output were first used by the MBTA in measures. its capital planning and programming activities. Fund the remaining projects in priority rank order until the cost of the next project is greater than funds The output from the SGR database has been used effec- remaining. tively by the MBTA. After the database was completed, the Mark unfunded projects as candidates for next year. MBTA made a concerted effort to persuade elected and appointed officials of the need to emphasize the funding of In discussions with the MBTA, senior management investments in the system's current infrastructure over the emphasized its strong position that "safety is priority one." funding of expansion services. Safety projects should be and are funded when needed, regardless of the output from the SGR database or any crite- This effort was successful. The funding of SGR invest- ria ranked therein. ments increased from about 50% to almost 80% within 5 years. In a subsequent development, the state has agreed to The definition of safety-critical projects includes two gen- help fund mandated expansion projects. eral types of projects. The first are projects that the MBTA must implement by legal mandate such as federal, state, or Recently (2009), a study of the system was undertaken at local laws or court decisions. The second concerns projects the request of Governor Deval Patrick. In this study, the use that involve assets for which failure would produce cata- of the SGR database output was used to illustrate the impact strophic results. These involve a small number of projects of investment in the system's infrastructure.