Asset Condition Module of the NTD

Number C-02-07

U.S. Department
of Transportation
Federal Transit


400 Seventh St. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Colleague:

I am pleased to announce an unprecedented effort to collect data on transit capital assets across the country, and to request your cooperation and support. The management of public capital assets has become an increasingly important issue in recent years. For example, in 1999, the independent Governmental Accounting Standards Board issued Statement 34, requiring reporting of the status of government-owned infrastructure as part of annual financial statements. The Federal Government Performance and Results Act requires increased attention on the outcomes achieved by Federal programs. The changes made by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century focused our programs on capital assistance, suggesting the need for a higher level of management of the assets acquired with Federal funds.

All of these factors point to the necessity to develop better data on key assets of the transit industry. This was confirmed in the valuable input we received from the Transportation Research Board and the American Public Transportation Association in devising a blueprint for a redesigned National Transit Database (NTD).

Accordingly, the mechanism we plan to employ to collect this data is the newly developed Asset Condition Module of the NTD. The module is being sent out by e-mail to the individual responsible for NTD data in your organization. This module is an outgrowth of a pilot study (part of the NTD redesign) to test the feasibility of periodically capturing information on the condition of the Nation’s transit infrastructure. A cross section of bus, rail and multimodal transit properties located across the country have actually tested the new module and provided valuable feedback. Further enhancements have been incorporated into the module as a result of this feedback.

I encourage your agency to participate in this voluntary, but critical, effort. We realize that this appeal for information will consume valuable resources, and we have sought to minimize the impact on your agency through careful design and intensive testing of the module. FTA’s ability to report on the condition of transit assets and to clearly justify the industry’s infrastructure needs will significantly enhance our credibility and strengthen our ability to compete for scarce budget dollars.

Jennifer L. Dorn