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9 CHAPTER THREE SURVEY RESULTS: TRANSIT CAPITAL PROGRAMMING AND ASSET TRACKING SYSTEMS The major effort in this project was the survey of industry control. Transit agencies must demonstrate knowledge of and practice in transit asset management. The nation's 50 largest control of transportation assets that are federally funded. transit agencies in terms of operations size were polled using an Internet survey. The transit agencies surveyed are primar- The primary source of asset inventory data varies among ily multi-modal transit agencies that typically operate heavy, the responding agencies (Figure 2). The most popular source light, or commuter rail services and bus services. The survey was fixed asset ledger/counting data, which was cited by 40% focused on these agencies because it was expected that they of respondents. Often, these databases were created for finan- would likely have the most advanced asset management sys- cial control purposes. tems because of the complexity of their operations. Data collected for operational purposes, either as part of The survey collected basic agency information and asked asset inspection or maintenance management systems, were if the agency had and used a comprehensive asset database. cited by approximately one-third of the respondents. These The survey also covered a detailed set of 37 questions regard- databases were created to support the maintenance of good ing current asset management systems practices. The ques- asset condition. tions addressed the scope of the agency asset inventory, the agency human resources used, the determination of asset con- The types of data systems used for asset inventory and dition and its use, and details of the agency's capital planning condition monitoring varied across responding agencies. All and programming. respondents indicated that an electronic database was used to store the data (Figure 3). However, only one-half of the respondents reported using networked applications. Net- SURVEY RESPONSE worked applications generally are considered to be the best The response rate for the initial survey was 82% or 41 agencies way to enter and maintain data that must be entered by many (Figure 1). Collectively, the respondents operate a variety of departments in an agency because they reduce or eliminate modes. More than two-thirds of the respondents (28 agencies) the double-entry of data. operate some form of rail service, heavy rail, light rail, or auto- mated guideway (Table 1). The remaining agencies typically The types of data storage also varied. More than one-half operate bus and demand response services. Nearly all of the of the respondents reported that their agencies stored data respondents (93%) provide bus service and most (86%) also in off-the-shelf, financial information, or asset management provide demand response service. This illustrates the com- databases (Figure 4). Another 30% of the respondents indi- plexity of the multi-modal operations of the 50 largest U.S. cated that their agencies use specially developed databases transit agencies. (internally or consultant). It is important that planning, as well as both near-term and The final question of the initial survey asked if the respon- long-term capital programming, be informed and guided by dent was willing to participate in a much more detailed survey analysis based on asset inventory data. To make the most use regarding the agency's asset inventory database, its structure, of the asset inventory there needs to be a connection between and its use. A total of 37 respondents or 90% indicated their (1) the update of the asset database (number of items) and (2) willingness to proceed with the second survey. the planning and budgeting process. SCOPE OF ASSET INVENTORY Approximately two-thirds of the responding agencies update the asset data in their databases every 1 to 2 years (Fig- Virtually all respondents to the initial survey (98%) reported ure 5). A 5-year update schedule is used for another 14% of the that they had a comprehensive asset inventory database. The responding agencies. same number of respondents noted that they maintained (updated) the database on a periodic basis. The remaining agencies do not have a fixed update sched- ule. For some responding agencies (8%), the frequency of These responses are consistent with the grant requirements updates occurs when changes are made to the asset inventory. for agencies receiving federal funding regarding adequate For others (6%), the update frequency varies by asset type.