Subscriber Login


Transit State of Good Repair Conference: Washington D.C., March 2019 [free access]

April 1, 2019

Global Mass Transit organised its seventh conference on Transit State of Good Repair on March 6–7, 2019 at the Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. The conference focused on the progress of and the opportunities in the implementation of transit asset management (TAM) and the achievement of the state of good repair (SGR). It highlighted relevant recent developments, explored contemporary best practices at the enterprise level and for individual asset classes, described TAM planning, and provided information on the financing, delivery, management, and documentation of SGR projects. The conference was attended by over 100 delegates representing over 70 companies.


The conference comprised nine sessions: Inauguration; Policy, Standards and Guidance; Data as an Asset; Lessons from TAM Planning; Future of Maintenance; Streamlining Capital Improvement; SGR for Rail Cars, Stations, Track and Systems Infrastructure; SGR for Buses and Bus Facilities; and Best Practices in SGR Projects. It was sponsored by eight companies - Aladon, Bentley, March Networks, Perpetuum, Infor, Protran, Strukton Rail, and Trapeze.


Joe Leader, Chief Operating Officer, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) delivered the welcome remarks at the opening session. He emphasised the significance of WMATA as a critical asset in the National Capital Region. WMATA operates an extensive and multi-modal system. The TAM Plan was published in 2018. With the support of dedicated funding from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, WMATA has launched a 10-year, USD15.5 billion capital programme. Mr. Leader described the favourable outcome of the Back2Good Program and outlined the priorities for 2019 – station platform reconstruction, automatic fare collection, automatic train operations, bus transformation, mobile fare payments, and cellular service in tunnels. 


Box 1 describes the Back2Good programme.


Box 1: WMATA Back2Good



• Railcar performance is now at the highest level in eight years, with railcars travelling more than 100,000 miles on average before having any problem causing delay.

• New rail preventive maintenance programmes have cut infrastructure-related disruptions in half.

• Rail fire incidents were down nearly 40% in 2018.

• Customer satisfaction of 79% is the highest in two years.


• 88% of all Metrorail rush-hour trips have arrived on-time since the start of Rush Hour Promise in January 2019.

Source: Presentation of Joe Leader


William (Bill) Robert, Partner, Spy Pond Partners discussed the results of a recent study of the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) on Return on Investment for Transit State of Good Repair (Project E-12). The study provides tools and methods for transit agencies to estimate the Return on Investment (ROI) from investments in transit SGR. This is expected to improve decision making and to make the business case for investments in SGR. The project team comprised Spy Pond Partners, AECOM, McCollom Management Consulting, and Ohio State University. The impacts were classified into four categories – user, agency, social & environmental, and economic. Based on pilot testing, it was concluded that typically SGR investments save USD2 for every USD1 invested. The research report and the calculation tool are planned to be developed by the Transportation Research Board in 2019.           


Kevin Price, Technical Product Evangelist & Strategist, Infor described the strategy to converge ISO55000 and SGR in asset management. The SGR capital planning process involves the following steps: create asset inventory, identify projects, define prioritisation criteria, prioritise projects, model investment impacts, and develop a 5-year Capital Improvement Plan and a 20-year Capital Plan. Mr. Price explained how ISO55000/PAS55 techniques can be adopted to improve the SGR capital planning process.


Scott Baker, Senior Consulting Manager, AECOM described the National Transit Institute’s training programme on TAM and delivered by AECOM, WSP, and Marine Tiger Technologies. The Tier II (small agency) course was piloted in January 2017 and has been delivered 14 times. The Tier I course was piloted in December 2017 and was initially delivered in June 2018. It is planned to be delivered at WMATA in April 2019. The courses aim to improve asset management practices followed by transit participants and increase compliance with the TAM Final Rule. The course themes are minimising the lifecycle cost for required service quality, federal and best practice concepts, and managing the backlog by asset category.


Patrick Astredo, Deputy Executive Officer – ITS Department, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) and Alvin McBorrough, Managing Partner & CEO, OGx Consulting discussed the strategy for data management at LA Metro. They identified data as a new natural resource for transit agencies. The data generated at LA Metro is growing at a rate of 60 per cent annually, and is expected to reach 1 Exabyte by 2021. It may be structured or unstructured. Businesses need data for leadership, enterprise TAM, operations, and capital planning. The new sources of data are social media and mobility sales experience. LA Metro is building the infrastructure to manage data as a strategic asset. The steps involved are strategy formation, governance, management, and standard maintenance.


Kyle Stockley, Fleet Engineering, Capital Program and Maintenance Support Manager, Utah Transit Authority (UTA) described the agency’s light rail overhaul programme. In 2013, UTA had released the request for proposal (RfP) to outsource the light rail overhaul project. It awarded the contract in 2014. However, in 2015, it was decided to bring the project inhouse and change it from project to programme. UTA has a long-term vision to grow the internal capabilities for repair and overhaul to reduce lead times and to balance cost and obligations. Mr. Stockley discussed the challenges and lessons learned in planning and implementing the programme.


Kyley Holmstrom, Director of Sales, and Gabriel Schmitzer, Program Manager for Measurement Products, Protran Technology, a division of Harsco Rail described the Callisto product line – the Track Geometry Measurement System. Callisto is a high-value, low-cost, and accurate-measurement solution. It is an integrated solution which utilises GPS capability, real-time tracking, and data analytics. The track geometry data is automatically analysed for safe operations and for future maintenance planning. The system pays for itself in about one year.


Kevin B. Quinn, Jr., Administrator, Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) described the multi-modal transit system of the MTA and the development of the TAM programme. The first agency-wide TAM policy and plan was launched in 2017, and the TAMbassadors and Bus Pilot programmes were launched in 2018. Mr. Quinn showed a video of the TAMbassadors initiative and described how the programme is used to reach all departments at the agency. The Eastern Bus Division Pilot involved the use of data for improved decision making and operating performance.


Robert L. Peskin, Senior Consulting Manager, Strategic Planning Services Planning, Americas Transportation, AECOM described the trends observed and the lessons learned from the completion of the initial TAM plans. He covered the lessons for both Tier I and Tier II plans and discussed what is involved in making the TAM plan successful, and how to improve the asset management culture at the organisation.


Llewellyn Fonseca, Project Manager, Infrastructure Program Management, TransLink BC (Canada) described TransLink’s capital investment decision support journey. TransLink, officially known as South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority, is responsible for planning, financing, operating, and maintaining an integrated transportation system across 21 municipalities. Its asset value is over CAD13.5 billion. Mr. Fonseca described the framework for the decision support tool and the conceptual process flow, including needs assessment, project/programme development, project value assessment, and optimisation of constraints and portfolio. The Asset Renewal Program is forward looking and based on data. It estimates an investment outlook for 10 years.


Daniel (Danny) Lax, Principal, Clear-Vu Lighting described his organisation’s solutions for transit – permanent tunnel lighting and platform-edge lighting. LED provides energy efficiency, superior illumination, and enhanced uniformity and reliability. He cited the case study of New York City Transit Jorelamon Tunnel where the replacement of CFL with LED has produced many benefits, such as 50 per cent reduction in energy consumption, 85 per cent reduction in maintenance labour, quick connection, long design life, and integrated battery system. The Canarsie Tunnel system will have the capability to report status updates from wireless module to gateway cloud. Mr. Lax also discussed the option of having a light fixture as a Trojan Horse, with sensors for temperature, chemical substances, radiation, etc.


Ellen Linnenkamp, Vice President, Strukton Rail North America, Inc. described the value proposition of Strukton Rail for the North American market. The company is a leader in Europe for rail maintenance. It deploys advanced technology solutions such as video inspection to optimise operations and to reduce costs.


Marius Basson, CEO, Aladon described the risk-based approach for reliability-centred maintenance (RCM). He introduced Aladon as a global expert in RCM3, with a practice in over 100 countries. In his approach, he described the eight questions that need to be answered about every asset or system being analysed. The outcome of the RCM3 process is a maintenance programme focused on preserving functions and performance standards.


Valerie Marcolongo, Founder and CEO, Encada LLC described the process of adding value to linear asset data by integrating information on asset, work, measured condition, and field assessment. The presentation was developed jointly with Jerry Cardillo, Road and Rail Analytics Product Manager, Bentley Systems.


Jacob Hassard, Facilities Engineer & CI Project Manager, Valley Regional Transit described the process of capital project delivery at his agency. The projects selected require stakeholder support, specific deliverables, political permission, regional funding, and environmental clearances. It is important to have consistent communication, reasonable expectations, and frontload schedules. Mr. Hassard discussed specific examples from his agency regarding the handling of challenges and the lessons learned in the delivery of successful capital projects.


Wendy King, SGR & PTMISEA Program Manager, Division of Rail and Mass Transportation, Caltrans described public transport funding management for SGR in California. The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 will invest approximately USD54 billion over the next 10 years in transportation. It specifically includes approximately USD700 million annually for public transit, including an additional USD250 million annually for State Transit Assistance and USD105 million annually for SGR and for the maintenance of existing facilities/services. In California, the SGR programme is formula based and covers 220 agencies. Ms. King discussed the issues in the programme and the steps being taken to make it more effective.


Vernon Hartsock, Deputy Chief/Chief Engineer, Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) discussed the implementation of asset management principles at the MTA to streamline maintenance operations. He stated that many transit agencies are now pursuing performance-based analytical approaches to monitor various system performances in an effort to support maintenance and planning decisions. For example, MTA now has an office and staff dedicated to reviewing and reporting on performance measures. The Office of Performance reports quarterly on key performance indicators across the various MTA modes. One of the key takeaways of his speech was that the agency staff are stewards of the public and are responsible for monitoring, assessing, and documenting the assets.


Xiang Liu, Director, Rutgers Rail Program, Rutgers University discussed predictive modelling in TAM from various perspectives. He provided an overview of the Rutgers Rail Program, described the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive modelling in track asset management, emphasised the need for workforce development, and shared information on new initiatives being undertaken for academic–industry partnership. The inaugural Transit Resource Program (TRP) hosted at its Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) aims to be a one-stop resource hub designed to serve the needs of the rail and transit sectors.


Keith Abate, Senior Director - Business Development, Perpetuum discussed how maintenance has progressed in the journey from repair-focus to reliability-focus. He stated that agencies must be diligent in re-evaluating and restructuring internal processes and procedures in order to take full advantage of the external solutions available. Effective asset lifecycle management drives successful service delivery and financial performance by minimising the cost to procure, operate, maintain, rehabilitate, and replace assets. The

vehicles as well as fleet and track maintenance consume a sizable chunk of an agency’s overall operating budget. The business case for investment to achieve change must include strategic, economic, corporate, operational, financial, and management goals. Mr. Abate gave examples of business cases and recommended that agencies should lay down specifications for condition-based monitoring in existing systems, mid-life overhaul, and new-car buy.


Marcelo Bravo, Industry Solutions Manager for Rail, Trapeze introduced the enterprise services offered by Trapeze – enterprise asset management, business intelligence, workforce management, scheduling and planning, automatic fare collection, passenger information, communication systems, vehicle intelligence, and yard management.


Danielle Spila, Director - Bureau of Public Transportation, PennDOT described the organisation’s capital planning tool for asset management and project planning. PennDOT has a statewide list of revenue vehicles and the database is useful both for transit agencies and the DOT. It is an automatic SGR project generator and allows planning for a horizon of 12 years. The capital planning tool has allowed DOT to manage Federal Transit Administration (FTA) compliance, fleet procurement, NTD reporting, and TAM. The open source programming format allows future customisation.


Jon Holler, Senior Facility Design Manager, HDR | MDG discussed the implementation of a facility maintenance plan for preventive maintenance. He described the need for facility management (a concept based on the real age of the facility), facility maintenance theories (reactive, preventive, predictive), the hidden costs of neglect, the benefits of a facilities maintenance plan, and the development of sustainable facilities.


Frank Palmeri, Director - Reliability Centered Maintenance Planning, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) described the implementation of RCM at WMATA. He mentioned that WMATA uses RCM3, which involves the incorporation of risk analysis in RCM. Historically, WMATA has depended on the OEM maintenance programme, but now it is using RCM and deploying CBM wherever possible. Examples of the implementation of RCM3 at WMATA include automatic train control, traction power, track maintenance, and car maintenance. Figure 1 depicts WMATA’s RCM approach. Figure 1 depicts WMATA's RCM approach.


Figure 1: RCM Approach at WMATA


Source: Presentation of Frank Palmeri


Ryan McAlpine, Sustainability Program Coordinator - Office of Planning and Capital Programming, Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) discussed the use of sustainability and asset management data for capital programming. He described the use of the total lifecycle approach. Transit asset management (TAM) helps determine when assets need to be replaced. Sustainability management data helps define how assets need to be replaced. Figure 2 depicts the MTA’s performance management approach.


Figure 2: Performance management approach


Source: Maryland MTA


The presentation was developed together with Lauren A. Molesworth, Environmental Planning Division Manager, MTA.




Assets, and the value realised from them, are the basis for any organisation to serve its purpose. Transit agencies aim to provide safe, sustainable, and reliable mobility services. The delivery of such services requires effective asset management practices that lead to a state of good repair (SGR). Achieving SGR of transit assets is a key priority for the FTA as it continues to advance efforts to implement the National Transit Asset Management (TAM) System required by MAP-21. Because transit agencies continue to operate in a fiscally constrained environment, each agency must balance SGR needs with operations, enhancement, and expansion priorities.