The TAM Final Rule and recent changes to the National Transit Database (NTD) reporting requirements will require transit agencies to submit asset inventory, condition assessments, performance targets, and a narrative report to the NTD annually in addition to developing a Transit Asset Management (TAM) plan. The TAM Performance Measures Fact Sheet provides an overview of the process of measuring performance, setting performance targets, and reporting to FTA. This webpage provides further explanation as well as links to additional resources on each performance measure, how to set targets, and what goes into the reports required by FTA. Another source of information is the self-paced, on-demand web-based course TSI Calculating Performance Measures and Setting Targets.
- Performance Measures
- Target Setting
Under the TAM Final Rule, FTA established four performance measures to approximate the State of Good Repair (SGR) for four categories of capital assets. Calculating performance measures helps transit agencies to quantify the condition of their assets, which facilitates setting targets that support local funding prioritization.
|Asset Category||FTA established Performance Measure|
|Rolling Stock||% of revenue vehicles exceeding ULB|
|Equipment||% of non-revenue service vehicles exceeding ULB|
|Facilities||% of facilities rated under 3.0 on the TERM scale|
|Infrastructure||% of track segments under performance restriction|
FTA will measure performance within each asset category (Rolling Stock, Equipment, Facilities, and Infrastructure) at the asset class level. It is important to note that some performance measures are limited to specific classes within that category. Tables for each asset category with example asset classes and associated performance measures are found further down on this page.
Note that for each asset category the performance measure is a characterization of the percentage of the number of assets that are not in a state of good repair. All of the performance measures have been designed with the goal of having low values. As the age increases or condition of assets deteriorates, the value of the performance measures will increase.
Lower Performance Measures Values = Better State of Good Repair
TAM measures performance toward SGR in three ways:
Measure: The percentage of vehicles that exceed the useful life benchmark (ULB).
Useful Life Benchmark: The expected lifecycle of a capital asset for a particular transit provider’s operating environment, or the acceptable period of use in service for a particular transit provider’s operating environment. Note: ULB is distinct from the useful life definition used in FTA’s grant programs
The Default ULB Cheat Sheet lists the default values set by FTA. See the Useful Life Benchmarks FAQ for additional details on ULBs. ULBs can be customized by modifying the default value in NTD, no prior FTA approval is required to customize a ULB (See Performance Measures and Targets section on this webpage for more information). See TSI Calculating Performance Measures and Setting Targets – Lesson 3 for more information on setting ULB Targets.
- Rolling Stock are reported by vehicle type. The NTD divides vehicles into 23 types.
- Equipment is reported only if it is a road-worthy, self-propelled maintenance or construction vehicle. Equipment assets are categorized into three vehicle types: automobiles, rubber-tired vehicles, and steel wheeled vehicles.
Equipment valued at more than $50K such as construction & maintenance equipment (for example: cranes, prime mover, fork lift, solar panels, battery packs, and generators) are included in the TAM Plan asset inventory and condition assessment but not reported to NTD nor included in Equipment performance measure. See How do I handle non-vehicle equipment?
|Performance Measure||Asset Category||Example Asset Class||Example Vehicle Type*|
Percentage of revenue
|Rolling Stock||Buses||Articulated Bus (AB)|
|Cutaway Bus (CU)|
|Other Passenger Vehicles||Cable Car (CC)|
|Railcars||Light Rail Vehicle (LR)|
|Commuter Rail Locomotive (RL)|
|Percentage of nonrevenue vehicles met or exceeded Useful Life Benchmark
by vehicle type
|Equipment||Nonrevenue Service Vehicles||Automobile (AO)|
* The NTD divides vehicles into 23 vehicle types, six of which are listed here as examples
Measure: The percentage of facilities (by group) that are rated less than 3.0 on the Transit Economic Requirements Model (TERM) Scale.
The TERM scale assigns numerical ratings based on condition:
|Excellent||4.8 - 5.0||No visible defects; new or near new condition;
may still be under warranty if applicable
|Good||4.0 - 4.7||Good condition, but no longer new; may be slightly defective or deteriorated, but is overall functional|
|Adequate||3.0 - 3.9||Moderately deteriorated or defective,
but has not exceeded useful life
|Marginal||2.0 - 2.9||Defective or deteriorated; in need of replacement; exceeded useful life|
|Poor||1.0 - 1.9||Critically damaged or in need of immediate repair; well past useful life|
The TAM Facility Performance Measure Reporting Guidebook and TSI Calculating Performance Measures and Setting Targets – Lesson 4 provide additional guidance on conducting facility condition assessments. An agency should have a consistent, documented method for rating facilities.
Reporting Units: Four types of facilities are reported to NTD. They are grouped into two classes for the purpose of performance measurement and target setting:
- Administrative and Maintenance
- Passenger and Parking
FTA requires that facility condition data be fully updated every four years, at a minimum. Agencies may choose to assess a quarter of their facilities every year, or more frequently. Each annual report must include updated facility condition data based on any assessments completed since the last report. Note: Only facilities with direct capital responsibility require condition assessments.
For more detail on shared responsibility, see Do I have capital responsibility for a shared use facility? and What is my responsibility if I do share capital responsibility for a facility?
|Example Asset Class||Example Facility Class|
|Percentage of assets
with condition rating
below 3.0 on FTA
by asset class
|Facilities||Administrative & Maintenance Facilities||Revenue Collection Facility|
|Service and Inspection Facility|
|Parking & Passenger Facilities||Parking Garages|
|Park and Ride Lots|
|Bus Transfer Stations|
Measure: The percentage of track segments (by rail mode) that have performance restrictions. The infrastructure performance measure applies only to rail fixed guideway systems.
Some key terms and concepts associated with the infrastructure performance measure are as follows:
- A performance restriction is defined as a segment of guideway track miles where the maximum permissible speed of transit vehicles is set to a value that is below the guideway’s full service speed. Restrictions can be caused by issues with rail fixed guideway, track, power & signal systems.
- Track miles are defined as the miles of track used in service, regardless of directionality.
- Track segments are measured to the nearest 0.01 of a mile.
- The annual performance measure for Infrastructure is an average of each month’s performance restriction measure. Performance restrictions should be measured at 9:00 AM local time on the first Wednesday of each month.
The TAM Infrastructure Performance Measure Reporting Guidebook and TSI Calculating Performance Measures and Setting Targets – Lesson 5 provide additional guidance on calculating performance restrictions.
Reporting Units: Track segments by rail mode. Speed restrictions on a specific track segment may be caused by issues with any class of rail infrastructure, not solely the track elements.
|Example Asset Class||Example Infrastructure Type|
|Percentage of track segments with performance restrictions||Infrastructure||Guideway Elements||At-Grade In-Street/Embedded|
|Elevated Steel Viaduct or Bridge|
|Below-Grade Retained Cut|
|Below-Grade Bored or Blasted Tunnel|
|Power & Signal Elements||Third Rail/Power Distribution|
|Train Control and Signaling|
|Track Elements||Grade Crossing|
A target is a goal associated with performance that is used to track the progress of capital assets towards achieving a state of good-repair. Targets connect a provider’s strategic goals to the actions that the provider will take to reach those goals.
The TAM Final Rule defines a performance target as a quantifiable level of performance or condition, expressed as a value for the measure, to be achieved within a time period required by FTA.
Lower Performance Measures Values = Better State of Good Repair
FTA requires that providers set performance targets for each applicable performance measure and report them to the NTD annually for the upcoming fiscal year.
For each performance measure include:
- Only those assets for which you have direct capital responsibility
- Only asset types specifically referenced in the performance measure
The TAM Final Rule does not require that agencies follow a specific process in setting performance targets, but the TSI Course Calculating Performance Measures and Setting Targets - Lesson 2 provides an in-depth overview of the target setting process. Setting and achieving performance targets is a local decision; targets should be set according to realistic expectations, available data, and expected financial resources from all sources over the upcoming year. During target setting, an agency needs to consider its ability to improve or maintain the state of its capital assets, as well as the perception of the intended audience when determining how high or low to set the target. The TAM Final Rule does not lay out penalties for missing a target, nor are rewards issued for attainment.
For example target calculations, see the TAM Performance Measures Fact Sheet.
Group Plan Targets
Tier II agencies are eligible to participate in group TAM plans. A group TAM plan sponsor must coordinate the development of the group TAM plan with each participant’s Accountable Executive and make the completed plan easily available to all participants and applicable planning agencies. Group plan sponsors will be responsible for reporting collective performance measures and targets for all agencies participating their group TAM plan. Sponsors should submit only one unified target per performance measure type for the group.
The TAM rule requires transit agencies to coordinate to the extent practicable with their State and MPO planning collegues as well as share TAM data with them. However, in addition to the transit provider requirements, the 2016 Planning Final Rule requires:
- States and MPOs to establish performance targets that address the performance measures or standards established in the TAM Final rule.
- States and MPOs to coordinate targets to the maximum extent practicable with providers of public transportation.
- MPOs to establish performance targets 180 days after the transit agencies establish their performance targets.
Transit operators collect a wide variety of data on their capital assets and their performance. The TAM Rule requires transit providers to report some of this data annually to FTA’s National Transit Database (NTD). The submission must include: asset inventory data, condition assessments and performance results, projected targets for the next fiscal year, and a narrative report on changes in transit system conditions and the progress toward achieving previous performance targets. Transit operators report this information to the NTD through the Asset Inventory Module (AIM). The reporting requirements were phased in starting in the FY2018 reporting period. See the most up-to-date NTD Reporting Policy Manual for more information.
The following table consolidates the deadlines associated with NTD reporting from What deadlines must I comply with under the TAM rule?
|If your fiscal year runs||July-
- Report FY17 asset inventory module (AIM) data to NTD
- Report FY18 AIM data to NTD (1st required)
- Report FY19 AIM data to NTD
- Report FY20 AIM data to NTD
- Complete Updated TAM Plan
See TSI Calculating Performance Measures and Setting Targets – Lesson 6 for more information on reporting and next steps.
Condition assessments, performance metrics, and projected targets for the next fiscal year are submitted annually to NTD Asset Inventory Module (AIM). Transit operators report on asset condition for the current year and set targets for each asset class for the following year. The targets reflect an agency’s expectation of its ability to keep assets in a state of good repair, based on current conditions, anticipated funding, and internal agency decision making procedures. While FTA provides resources and technical assistance to support target setting, there is no prescribed process that agencies must use. Furthermore, there are no rewards for meeting the targets and no penalties for not meeting the targets.
Operators that have an NTD ID and report annually to NTD that are also participating in Group plans are responsible for submitting their inventories and condition assessment data to the NTD. The Group Plan Sponsor reports inventory and condition data for participants who do not otherwise report to the NTD. Group Plan Sponsors report one performance target for each applicable asset class, rather than individual targets for each participant in the Group Plan. See the Reporting Manual for more information regarding reporting.
In report year 2019, agencies began the required provision of an annual narrative report submit to NTD describing changes to asset condition from the previous year and detailing progress to meet performance targets set in the previous year. While there is no specific format requirement, FTA has developed an example Narrative Report template.
Where AIM Data is Used
The AIM data is used in a number of places to provide context on the state of transit assets nationwide. Some of this data feeds into the Transit Economic Requirements Model (TERM), and is used to model future transit investment needs and reported in the biennial Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance Report (C&P) to Congress, jointly published by FHWA and FTA. The C&P uses AIM data, as well as additional population and service information to model the nationwide condition of transit and forecast the cost of deferred replacement needs.
FTA also uses the data from the AIM directly to represent a national summary report of asset conditions and calculate metrics for condition, performance, and other asset information for that year. The reports can be found below.
Each year FTA summarizes and analyzes the raw data from the AIM in a TAM Data Summary report. The links to the previous reports are as follows:
The TAM Data Summary supports FTA’s efforts to provide a national snapshot of asset inventory and conditions. FTA collects this information to help support transit agencies in the implementation of their TAM programs and progress on meeting their self-determined performance targets, based on local decisions. The reported data allows FTA to calculate performance metrics across asset classes and operator types. Since operator reported targets are a local decision, the relative difference between the current condition and the projected target can indicate agencies’ expectation to be able to maintain transit assets in a state of good repair.
The TAM Data Summary is based on data self-reported by the agencies and the analysis of the data reflects what is submitted by agencies. FTA verifies the reported data to resolve discrepancies such as values reported outside of the expected range, but does not model or extrapolate this data. Reporting TAM performance data is a relatively new requirement and the FTA expects there to be some reporting variability in the first several years of annual reports. In part, this variability may be due to operators establishing reporting procedures that meet the requirements and align with their local decision making frameworks. FTA continues to provide technical assistance for recipients as they mature in their reporting and implementation of TAM.
The following resources may be helpful when working on your performance measure targets and reporting. Visit the TAM Resource Table for a full list of available TAM resources.
These Frequently Asked Questions provide specific insight:
- For which assets must I conduct a condition assessment?
- How do I know if I have direct capital responsibility for an asset?
- What is the difference between assets in my TAM plan and NTD inventory and targets?
- We have fixed guideway assets, but we don’t operate rail fixed guideway. Am I Tier I or Tier II?
The TAM Resource Table shares actual agency examples of performance measurement and target setting:
Other resources on performance measurement, target setting, and reporting:
- FTA’s June webinar Final TAM Performance Measure Guidebooks Presentation and Transcript
- FHWA Steps to Effective Target Setting for TPM
- Let's Talk Performance: Lessons Learned from Target Setting Coordination (6/13/2017)
- Advancing Performance Management: Establishing Measures and Targets
- January 2017 TAMNews
Contact TAM to share your agency’s performance measure and documentation.