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Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2006 Conditions and Performance
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Chapter 3: Executive Summary

System Conditions: Transit

The overall physical condition of the U.S. transit system can be evaluated by examining the age and condition of the various components of the Nation's infrastructure. This infrastructure includes vehicles in service, maintenance facilities, the equipment they contain, and other supporting infrastructure such as guideways, power systems, rail yards, stations, and structures (bridges and tunnels).

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has undertaken extensive engineering surveys and collected a considerable amount of data on the U.S. transit infrastructure to evaluate transit asset conditions. FTA uses a rating system of 1 "poor" to 5 "excellent" to describe asset conditions.

Definitions of Transit Asset Conditions
RatingConditionDescription
Excellent5No visible defects, near new condition.
Good4Some slightly defective or deteriorated components.
Fair3Moderately defective or deteriorated components.
Marginal2Defective or deteriorated components in need of replacement.
Poor1Seriously damaged components in need of immediate repair.

The average condition of urban bus vehicles has remained about the same, increasing from 3.07 in 2002 to 3.08 in 2004. The average age of urban bus vehicles decreased from 6.2 to 6.1 years. The average condition of bus maintenance facilities increased from 3.34 in 2002 to 3.41 in 2004. In 2004, 69 percent of bus maintenance facilities were in adequate or better condition, unchanged from 2002.

Condition of Bus Maintenance Facilities, 2004. Pie chart in five segments. The condition of bus maintenance facilities is shown as 0.5 percent poor, 31.4 percent substandard, 45.7 percent adequate, 5.2 percent good, and 17.3 percent excellent.

The average condition of rail vehicles increased from 3.47 in 2002 to 3.50 in 2004. The average age of rail vehicles declined from 20.4 years in 2002 to 19.7 in 2004. The condition of rail maintenance facilities increased from 3.56 in 2002 to 3.82 in 2004, primarily based on updated data collected directly from agencies. In 2004, 92 percent of rail maintenance facilities were estimated to be in adequate or better condition.

Condition of Rail Maintenance Facilities, 2004. Pie chart in five segments. The condition of rail maintenance facilities is shown as 1.3 percent poor, 6.6 percent substandard, 48.5 percent adequate, 17.4 percent good, and 26.2 percent excellent.

The condition of rail stations increased from 2.87 in 2002 to 3.37 in 2004, based on new deterioration curves estimated from on-site surveys in 2004 and on updated data collected directly from transit agencies. Condition estimates in this report also reflect updated deterioration curves for signaling, traction power, and communications systems for rail systems developed from on-site surveys in 2005. In 2004, 100 percent of communications systems, 74 percent of train control systems, and 99 percent of traction power systems were in adequate or better condition. The conditions of elevated structures, underground tunnels, track, and rail vehicle storage yards improved between 2002 and 2004.

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