In accordance with FTA requirements, the MBTA completes annual Transit Asset Management (TAM) performance measures for Rolling Stock, Equipment, Facilities, and Infrastructure – Track to document the agency’s asset inventory and system condition. This information is reported to the FTA’s National Transit Database (NTD) each year.
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. FY23 performance measures and FY24 performance targets are reported for Rolling Stock, Equipment, Facilities, and Infrastructure – Track to indicate system condition.
Rolling Stock are revenue vehicles providing passenger service. This includes transit rail cars, locomotives, coaches, buses, vintage trolleys, vans, automobiles, and ferryboats. The performance measure for this asset category is the percent of active vehicles that are at or beyond their Useful Life Benchmark (ULB), which is the FTA-defined number of service years a vehicle can be expected to perform. A lower percentage for this measure reflects a newer fleet.
The percent of vehicles at or beyond their ULB decreased for buses, heavy rail passenger cars, and Commuter Rail locomotives from FY22 to FY23 due to ongoing delivery of new vehicles. The percent of vehicles at or beyond their ULB increased for Commuter Rail locomotives and articulated buses due to the continued aging of the fleets. This inventory reflects a correction to the ULB for Type 7 light rail vehicles from 45 years to 31 years, resulting in an increase in the percent of light rail vehicles beyond the ULB.
The FY24 targets account for the delivery of new Hyundai Rotem Commuter Rail coaches as well as new Orange Line and Red Line vehicles. The heavy rail passenger car and Commuter Rail passenger coach measures are expected to improve as these procurements continue to advance. The FY24 targets for articulated buses and RIDE vans reflect the continued aging of these fleets.
|Type of Vehicle
|FY23 Total Active Vehicles
|% aged 14-20+ years*
|Light Rail Vehicle
|% aged 31+**
|% aged 58+ years
|Heavy Rail Passenger Car
|% aged 31+ years
|Commuter Rail Locomotive
|% aged 39+ years
|Commuter Rail Passenger Coach
|% aged 39+ years
|% aged 42+ years
|The RIDE Automobile
|% aged 6-8+ years
|The RIDE Van
* Useful life benchmark of some fleets adjusted in FY21 due to Life-Extending Overhauls.
** Reflects a correction to the ULB for the 1986 Green Line Type 7 light rail vehicle fleet from 45 years to 31 years.
Equipment refers to rubber tire and steel wheel vehicles that are not used for the provision of revenue service and are instead used as support vehicles. This includes first response vehicles, tow trucks, spot tampers, crane cars, snowplows, and others. The performance measure for this asset category is the percent of vehicles that are at or beyond their Useful Life Benchmark (ULB), which is the FTA-defined number of service years a vehicle can be expected to perform. A lower percentage for this measure reflects a newer fleet, however some equipment is stored indoors and used sporadically, and can perform adequately even if well beyond the ULB.
The overall percentage of non-revenue vehicles at or beyond their ULB increased to 48.5% in FY23 due to additional fleets reaching their ULB, as well as the non-cyclical nature of support vehicle retirement. This measure is expected to continue to increase to 50.8% in FY24 as vehicles that are used sparingly continue to age.
The MBTA continues to monitor support vehicle needs across the system and invest in the maintenance and replacement of non-revenue equipment. This includes the procurement of first response vehicles, service cars, service trucks, tow trucks, spot tampers, swing masters, crane cars, and other support vehicles.
|Type of Vehicle
|FY23 Total Active Vehicles
|% aged 8+ years
|Other Rubber Tire Vehicle
|% aged 14+ years
|Steel Wheel Vehicle
|% aged 25+ years
The Facilities asset category is comprised of two asset classes: passenger/parking facilities and administrative/maintenance facilities. Passenger and parking facilities include stations, stops, terminals, parking lots, and parking garages. Administrative and maintenance facilities include bus garages, layover facilities, trailers, pump rooms, office buildings, and other structures that support MBTA operations.
Per FTA requirements, each facility asset is assessed at least once every four years and receives a condition rating on the five-point FTA Transit Economic Requirements Model (TERM) scale, where a score of 5 indicates excellent condition and 1 indicates poor condition. The TERM rating is a composite score generated from an on-site assessment of multiple components: substructure, shell, interiors, conveyance, plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, electrical, equipment, fare collection, and site. This composite score is not a measure of safety or operational performance of the asset. Due to condition assessment schedules, only a subsection of the facilities inventory will receive updated condition ratings in a given year.
The performance measure for the facilities asset category is the percent of facilities assets that were rated less than 3 on the FTA TERM scale in their last condition assessment, indicating marginal or poor condition. A lower percentage for this measure reflects facilities assets in overall better condition.
A large number of facilities assets that were assessed during the FY23 cycle received updated TERM scores showing an improvement in overall condition. The percent of facilities assets below a 3 on the TERM scale decreased for both the administrative/maintenance and passenger/parking categories.
The FY24 target for administrative and maintenance facilities projects no change in condition ratings for these facilities following FY24 condition assessments. The target for passenger and parking facilities reflects the likelihood that a small number of facilities will receive lower condition ratings during this condition assessment cycle.
Given the age of many of the MBTA’s administrative and maintenance facilities, making significant improvements to the overall condition requires substantial time and financial investment. As the MBTA continues to gain a better understanding of the baseline condition of its facilities, the agency expects to be able to better target investments in the facilities assets most in need of repair or replacement.
Additionally, the four-year inspection cycle for facilities assets often results in recent capital improvements to existing assets not reflecting in the facilities performance measure until well after the project has completed. Performance results often lag several years behind the physical improvement of the asset, complicating the MBTA’s ability to set and meet facility performance targets.
|FY23 Total Facility Assets
|Administrative / Maintenance
|% facility assets with condition ratings < 3
|Passenger / Parking
Infrastructure – Track
The FTA TAM performance measure for track uses the average percentage of track miles with speed restrictions as a proxy for track condition. Speed restrictions are areas where the maximum permissible speed of transit vehicles is set to a value below the guideway’s full-service speed. They can be caused by track defects, signaling issues, construction ones, maintenance work, or other causes. A lower percentage of track miles with speed restrictions reflects tracks in better condition. Reduced service speeds related to curves in the track, bridges, grade crossings, or other features are not counted in this performance measure. The MBTA is pursuing an aggressive program to improve track condition and reduce speed restrictions across the transit system, and works continuously in partnership with Keolis to maintain the Commuter Rail system.
Per FTA guidance, to calculate FY23 performance, the MBTA measured the length of revenue track miles under performance restrictions based on a snapshot of conditions that existed as of 9:00 AM local time on the first Wednesday of the month. The MBTA then divided the annual average track miles with performance restrictions by the total revenue miles for each category.
The percent of track miles with speed restrictions increased from FY22 to FY23 for both heavy and light rail. To calculate FY24 track performance targets for heavy and light rail, the MBTA used actual performance during the final quarter of FY 2023 and first two months of FY 2024 as a baseline and adjusted based on planned track improvements during this fiscal year. The MBTA recognizes that while the agency faces several challenges, it remains committed to improving the condition of its assets and reducing the number of speed restrictions on the transit system.
The percent of track miles with speed restrictions on the Commuter Rail system decreased slightly from FY22 to FY23. The Commuter Rail performance target for FY24 assumes relatively steady performance and accounts for expected conditions during this fiscal year.
|FY23 Total Revenue Track Length
|% track miles with speed restrictions