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Transit agencies today face issues such as increasing service and ridership demand, ageing infrastructure and vehicles, declining external funding (federal, state and local government grants), and the need to grow internally generated revenues (fares, joint development, advertisements, etc.). For transit operators, ageing capital assets lead to higher maintenance costs and limited ability to expand system capacity. Many transit agencies lack state-of-the-art capital planning systems and are taking sub-optimal decisions with regard to fund allocation for assets. The US Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration estimates that one-third of the US's transit assets are either in a marginal or poor condition and there exists a backlog of USD80 billion in deferred asset maintenance and replacement needs with an additional investment requirement of USD14.4 billion annually for normal replacement expenditures to prevent further backlog.

In response to these circumstances, Global Mass Transit will host a conference, "Transit State of Good Repair (SOGR)", on March 7 and 8, 2012 at WILLARD INTERCONTINENTAL in Washington DC. The conference will bring together diverse stakeholders for exploring creative approaches to finance the required repairs and upgrades of ageing transportation assets. The mission of the conference is to explore SOGR as a strategy for managing and growing the asset base to achieve a high-quality, reliable, safe, secure, efficient and customer-centric transit service which promotes community livability and sustainability.

The conference is unique in that it focuses only on SOGR. It aims to provide practical suggestions, and discuss the lessons learnt and best practices for adopting a systems engineering approach in achieving transit SOGR to optimize resources, generate revenues and maximize returns on investment. It will address issues related to assessing the condition of transit capital assets, prioritizing transit reinvestment decisions, preventive maintenance practices, asset management, research needs, transit recapitalization and innovative financing strategies. The sessions will also adequately address the unique issues relevant to small and medium transit agencies.

The speakers will include policymakers, transit agencies and operators, technology providers, specialist consultants, transit-related associations and financiers such as private equity firms and banks.

KEY issues to be explored:

  • How can SOGR be defined and measured?
  • How can the systems engineering approach be used to adopt SOGR as a strategy?
  • How can transit agencies make better use of their existing maintenance management systems to meet SOGR needs?
  • How can transit operators balance demand, service and finances?
  • What tools and guidance are available to develop asset management programs?
  • How can operations efficiency and effectiveness be optimized through IT systems support, technology upgrades, and process improvement techniques?
  • How can transit agencies maintain competitiveness in their service operations?
  • How can the existing assets be best leveraged for generating new operating revenues?
  • What are the best practices in the development of asset inventories and how are transit agencies utilizing their inventories?
  • What are the different models and frameworks for capital investment prioritization?
  • How can the transit industry leverage the opportunities offered by public-private partnerships to maximize public benefits?
  • What are the innovative financing sources for meeting transit SOGR needs?
  • What can be done to garner political support at the local and regional levels to influence transit funding allocation at the national level?
  • What are the requirements and potential solutions for meeting transit workforce needs to ensure that assets remain in SOGR?