Introduction: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has recently put out requirements for transit asset management, but these performance requirements fall short in several ways. To ensure that your transit agency is getting the most out of its assets, you need to supplement the FTA’s requirements with a holistic asset management program. 


FTA’s Asset Performance Requirements miss the mark in several key areas. First and foremost, the FTA’s requirements are focused on reactive maintenance rather than proactive maintenance. Waiting until something breaks to fix it is not an effective way to manage assets; by the time a problem is detected, it’s often too late to prevent significant damage. 

The FTA’s reporting requirements are also very focused on the capital planning aspects of the State of Good Repair. Looking at major assert failures that occurred over the year, alongside the aggregated state of good repair scores and age against useful life benchmarks makes for a good analysis of how the age and condition of your asset inventory is affecting asset performance and driving capital investment demand. But does this truly capture the daily impacts on your ability to meet demand? Does it give you the data and tools you need to more easily make vehicle book out requirements for the next shift? 

FTA asset performance reporting standards fall short of the details a strong asset management program requires to truly improve asset reliability and performance. Some of the questions that FTA measures do not answer include the following: 

  • Does an asset or group of assets present a particular safety risk? 
  • Are my PM and inspection procedures actually improving my asset reliability? 
  • Do I have repeat failures that might be addressed with procedural changes?
  • What are the minor failures that are making a big impact on asset availability?

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently did a study on this very topic and found similar results. The GAO went further to say that “most agencies made few changes or limited improvements to their existing procedures for inventorying or assessing the condition of assets to incorporate TAM requirements.”

Additionally, the FTA’s requirements do not take into account the full lifecycle of an asset. Merely managing an asset during its useful life is not enough; you also need to plan for decommissioning and disposal. Without a comprehensive asset management program, it can be very difficult to keep track of all of your agency’s assets and ensure that they are being properly cared for. 


The FTA’s requirements for transit asset management are a good starting point, but they are not enough on their own. In order to get the most out of your transit assets, you need to supplement the FTA’s guidelines with a comprehensive asset management program that takes into account the full lifecycle of an asset. By doing so, you can proactively manage your assets and prevent problems before they occur. 21Tech’s RapidTAM provides a much more complete starting point, with its processes and functions aligned with Institute of Asset Management frameworks upon which to base your comprehensive asset management program.