MBTA releases Capital Needs Assessment and Inventory
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has released its Capital Needs Assessment and Inventory (CNAI), an MBTA-led analysis conducted every 3-4 years to inventory the MBTA’s assets, understand the overall condition of the transit system, and identify assets that are not in a State of Good Repair in order to determine the level of investment needed to support the existing network.
The MBTA is among the oldest and most complex transit agencies in the United States with some assets that date back more than 50 years. All MBTA assets – facilities, vehicles, infrastructure, and more – have varying expected useful lives and all assets eventually require rehabilitation or replacement on a rolling basis. State of Good Repair (SGR) does not indicate the level of safety, but rather is representative of an asset operating at its optimal and expected level of performance. An asset “out of SGR” is more likely to require rehabilitation or replacement.
The CNAI helps understand the magnitude of assets needs across the system at a single point in time. The SGR Index is calculated as part of the CNAI and aims to capture the baseline condition and estimated value for all assets that have been identified as out of SGR. While it does not reflect total project costs or the totality of capital investment that may be needed, both the CNAI and SGR Index help the MBTA develop strategies about where to allocate funding resources and make investments toward a modernized transportation network as part of the MBTA’s rolling five-year Capital Investment Plan (CIP). In the MBTA's FY24-28 CIP process, State of Good Repair and Safety were the most important prioritization factors, making up half of a project’s total weighted score.
The MBTA estimates the current overall SGR Index for assets in need of rehabilitation or replacement to be approximately $24.5 billion. This estimate includes:
Facilities: $6.4 billion (35% of assets)
Rolling Stock: $2.4 billion (55% of assets)
Equipment: $52 million (28% of assets)
Structures: $5.3 billion (22% of assets)
Signals – CR: $1.3 billion (80% of assets)
Signals – Transit: $753 million (53% of assets)
Track – CR: $1.2 billion (9% of assets)
Track – Transit: $2.0 billion (89% of assets)
Power: $5.1 billion (76% of assets)
This estimated figure is an increase of $14.5 billion from the last CNAI performed in 2019.
The MBTA is already addressing many of the needs identified in the CNAI and working to incorporate the findings of the CNAI into the capital project pipeline. The Asset Management and Capital Program Planning Departments are working together to institutionalize the use of condition, criticality, and risk scores to strengthen project development processes and capital investment decision-making. The Asset Management Department develops the asset inventory and build out additional data complexity to support ongoing analyses of the MBTA’s capital needs.