MAP-21 Encourages and Funds Technology Upgrades in Transit
On July 6, 2012 President Obama signed into law a new two-year transportation authorization, known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). The law authorizes $10.6 billion in FY 2013 and $10.7 billion in FY 2014 for public transportation. One of the most important goals of the law is to improve the state of good repair (SGR) of our transportation system, while increasing the safety of our public transit infrastructure. To further these goals, the law establishes for the first time that agencies adopt Transit Asset Management (TAM) best practices that incorporate performance-based planning requirements. Under these requirements, federal funding is subject to meeting key goals, for which transit agencies must track their progress.
While MAP-21 promises to improve our transit system, it may also bring unique challenges to transit agencies since they will have to collect and report more data to the Federal Transit Administration. In drafting this legislation, however, Congress recognized the need for making this process more efficient by allowing agencies to use federal funding for operational equipment, including hardware and software. In this article we describe how agencies can meet these challenges. In order to comply with Map-21, agencies are encouraged to use available federal funds to purchase or upgrade their enterprise asset management software. As the “system of record” for assets (work history, condition and capital replacement schedules), EAM software is uniquely suited to help state and local transit agencies meet and exceed the MAP-21 requirements.