Transit Asset Condition

How well are we maintaining our transit infrastructure?

Transit Asset Condition

Transit asset condition reflects the relative age of the region’s transit infrastructure. It is measured in terms of the percentage of transit assets beyond their expected useful life, as gauged by federal standards. In order to incorporate assets of vastly different monetary values (i.e. a bus stop versus a subway station), this percentage is weighted based on the cost to replace each asset.

Well-maintained transit vehicles, stations, trackways and other key infrastructure are needed to deliver the reliable performance that Bay Area transit riders are seeking, and to ensure passenger safety and comfort. Keeping a close eye on the age of transit assets is an important way to gauge the reliability and readiness of the Bay Area’s public transit system.

Local Focus
BART’s maintenance needs are particularly significant, with nearly half of its infrastructure past its useful life.

While no Bay Area transit provider is lucky enough to operate with 100 percent brand-new equipment, BART stands as a primary example of the region’s aging transit infrastructure. From tracks and control systems to vehicles and guideways, 49 percent of all BART infrastructure is now past its useful life, standing in contrast to the regional average of 29 percent. Among other investments currently underway, the replacement of the BART fleet will play a major role in improving the agency’s transit asset conditions over the coming years.

Passenger experience is significantly affected by the condition onboard transit agency vehicles, one of the most critical asset categories. Operators like Muni, AC Transit and Golden Gate Transit have recently undertaken bus rehabilitation and replacement projects, resulting in improved performance. All three of these robust bus systems have reduced the share of aged vehicles in their fleets to less than 5 percent.

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2015 Transit Asset Condition by Operator


Metropolitan Transportation Commission: Regional Transit Capital Inventory (2015)

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Image: MTC Library, Photographer: Karl Nielsen

Methodology Notes: 

Percentage of assets past useful life relies upon the identified useful life for each asset type as specified by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The calculation is weighted based on asset replacement value to reflect the greater importance of high-value assets to system operations.