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Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2006 Conditions and Performance
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Chapter 9: Executive Summary

Impacts of Investment: Transit

Funding levels between 2002 and 2004 have been sufficient to maintain conditions. The investment estimated by the "Maintain Conditions" scenario assumes that an average condition of 3.6 will be reached in 2024, compared with an average condition of 3.9 in 2004. To reach an average condition of 3.9 in 2024 would require the maintain conditions investment estimate to include replacement expenditures for some assets not needing replacement over the 2003 to 2024 period.

If the amount spent on capital investment is 10 percent lower than the amount estimated to be needed to maintain conditions in urban areas ($8.89 billion annually instead of $9.88 billion annually), the average condition of transit assets is estimated to fall from 3.6 in 2004 to 3.5 in 2024. If this amount is lowered by 30 percent to $6.92 billion annually, average asset conditions are estimated to fall to 3.4 in 2024.

Effect of Capital Spending Constraints on Transit Conditions
 2004 ConditionPercent of Recommended Rehabilitation and Replacement Expenditures to Maintain Conditions
Asset Type 100%90%80%70%
Guideway Elements4.4 4.1 4.0 4.0 3.9
Facilities3.6 3.2 2.9 2.9 2.9
Systems3.9 3.7 3.7 3.5 3.4
Stations3.4 3.1 3.1 3.1 3.1
Vehicles3.4 3.4 3.3 3.3 3.1
All Assets3.9 3.6 3.5 3.5 3.4
Replacement Expenditure Scenarios 1$9.88$8.89$7.91$6.92
1 Excludes rural vehicles and facilities.

Funding levels between 2002 and 2004 have also been sufficient to maintain performance as measured by passenger travel time and vehicle occupancy. TERM estimates that for urban areas $5.2 billion annually will be needed to maintain current performance if PMT increases annually at the projected rate of 1.57 percent, or about 850 million new passengers per year.

TERM considers, in its benefit-cost analysis, the effect of capital investment on transit user costs and the effect of change in these costs on transit ridership. Transit user costs are composed of two components: the out-of-pocket transit fare cost and the time spent making the trip or "travel-time cost." Travel-time savings are realized by adding or expanding an existing rail or BRT service or by adding vehicles to reduce crowding. Out-of-pocket savings occur when passengers switch from automobiles to transit.

TERM estimates that $5.2 billion annually is required to improve transit performance in urban areas, $2.01 billion annually for asset expansion in new rail or BRT service to increase speed, and $3.16 billion annually for asset expansion in new vehicles to reduce occupancy levels. The average ridership estimated to result from increasing speed is 22.9 million passengers annually; the average annual ridership estimated to result from decreasing occupancy levels is 51.6 million passengers annually.
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