MBTA System Condition

In accordance with the FTA, the MBTA completes annual Transit Asset Management performance measures for Revenue Vehicles, Non-Revenue Vehicles, Facilities, and Track to document the agency’s asset inventory, condition assessments, and investment prioritization. The MBTA uses FTA-defined performance measures and annual targets to monitor asset condition, determine optimum levels of asset investment (such as preventative maintenance), and develop condition goals per asset type across the agency. In moving towards a proactive “predict and prevent” asset management strategy, key future advancements will include digital tracking, automated inspections, and a transition toward predictive maintenance. Metrics for system condition are reported for FY21.

Revenue Vehicle Condition

Revenue vehicle condition is the percent of vehicles that transport customers and are at or beyond their Useful Life Benchmark (ULB), which represents the end of their expected life cycle based on the type and age of the vehicle according to FTA standards. A lower percentage for this measure reflects a newer fleet. The percent of revenue vehicles at or beyond their ULB decreased for most vehicle types from FY20 to FY21—including bus and articulated bus, light rail vehicle, heavy rail passenger car, commuter rail passenger coach, and the RIDE automobile—due primarily to the procurement of new vehicles to replace older ones. The light rail vehicle metric improved significantly in FY21 due to life-extending overhauls of Type 7 cars, and the completed procurement of new Green Line vehicles to accommodate increased ridership expected from the Green Line Extension. As the MBTA gradually replaces the Orange Line fleet and the Red Line fleet with new cars, the heavy rail metric should improve. The percent of older revenue vehicles in the fleet did not change for trolleybus, vintage trolley, commuter rail locomotive, or ferryboat from FY20 to FY21. Targets for FY22 are lower than FY21 performance (indicating newer fleets) for heavy rail passenger car, commuter rail locomotive, the RIDE automobile, and the RIDE van due to expected overhauls and procurement of new vehicles.

Type of Vehicle Measure FY21 # of Vehicles FY21 Performance FY20 Performance FY22 Target
Articulated Bus % aged 14-20+ years 105 0% 30% 0%
Bus % aged 14-20+ years 1,065 25% 28% 26%
Trolleybus % aged 14-20+ years 28 100% 100% 100%
Light Rail Vehicle % aged 31-45+ years* 227 0% 40% 0%
Vintage Trolley % aged 58+ years 7 100% 100% 100%
Heavy Rail Passenger Car % aged 31+ years

472

53% 55% 51%
Commuter Rail Locomotive % aged 39+ years 102 24% 24% 20%
Commuter Rail Passenger Coach % aged 39+ years 401 8% 13% 8%
Ferryboat % aged 42+ years 3 0% 0% 0%
The RIDE Automobile % aged 6-8+ years 255 33% 100% 28%
The RIDE Van % aged 6-8+ years 419 43% 28% 14%

* Useful life benchmark of some fleets adjusted in FY21 due to Life-Extending Overhauls.

Non-Revenue Vehicle Condition

Non-revenue vehicles include automobiles, steel wheel vehicles, trucks, and other rubber tire vehicles that do not transport customers and are used as support equipment.  Condition is the percent of transit- and commuter rail-related vehicles that do not transport customers and are at or beyond their Useful Life Benchmark (ULB), which represents the end of their expected life cycle based on the type and age of the vehicle according to FTA standards. A lower percentage for this measure reflects a newer fleet. The percent of non-revenue transit and commuter rail vehicles at or beyond their ULB was 19 percent, a decrease from 21 percent in FY20, due in part to an increased total vehicle count and the retirement of older vehicles. The FY22 target is 21 percent of non-revenue vehicles beyond their ULB.

Facility Condition

Facility condition is the percent of facilities that are ranked below a 3 on the 5-point scale used by the FTA’s Transit Economic Requirements Model (TERM), where a score of 5 indicates excellent condition and 1 indicates poor condition, with a score of 3 indicating adequate condition. A lower percentage for this measure reflects facilities in overall better condition. The measure assesses passenger/parking facilities and administrative/maintenance facilities for both transit and commuter rail modes. The percent of facilities below a 3 on the TERM scale increased for admin/maintenance facilities to 50 percent in FY21 from 45 percent in FY20. Facility condition for passenger/parking facilities remained at 8 percent in FY21. Targets for FY22 facilities below a 3 on the TERM scale are 8 percent for passenger/parking facilities and 44 percent for admin/maintenance facilities.

Track Condition

Track condition is the percent of track distance with speed restrictions, which are track segments where reduced speeds are required to ensure a safe and comfortable ride. This measure is used as a proxy for track condition, and a lower percentage reflects tracks in better condition. The percent of track distance with speed restrictions stayed consistent for heavy rail at 3 percent in FY21, and increased for commuter rail to 4 percent. Light rail track with speed restrictions decreased from 7 percent in FY20 to 3 percent in FY21, due in part to track work associated with the Green Line Transformation project. Targets for FY22 are lower than FY21 performance for all three modes of track, indicating better expected condition due to continuing infrastructure improvements. The completion of the Green Line Extension will add an additional 4.3 revenue miles of light rail track.

Mode Of Track Measure FY21 Track Length FY21 Performance FY20 Performance FY22 Target
Heavy Rail % with speed restrictions 79 miles 3% 3% 2%
Light Rail % with speed restrictions 51 miles 5% 7% 2%
Commuter Rail % with speed restrictions 664 miles 4% 1% 2%