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Transit Assets


Transit Assets

Transit Asset Management (TAM) is a key component of the federal performance-based planning process. FTA published the TAM Final Rule on July 26, 2016 (effective date of October 1, 2016) to define the term state of good repair and to establish minimum Federal requirements for transit asset management that apply to all recipients and subrecipients of chapter 53 funds that own, operate, or manage public transportation capital assets.

The TAM Final Rule divides providers into two categories based on size of fleet: Tier I and Tier II. In the CRTPO planning area, Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is a Tier I agency and Iredell County Transportation System (ICATS), Mecklenburg Transportation System (MTS), and Union County Transportation (UCT) are Tier II agencies. NCDOT is the group TAM plan sponsor. The distinctions in requirements for Tier I and Tier II agencies are detailed in the sections below.

Performance Measures & Targets

The TAM performance measures in the tables below were established as part of the TAM Final Rule. Transit agencies and group TAM plan sponsors must update their TAM targets annually.

MPOs may choose to revise or maintain their TAM targets when they update their TIPs or MTPs. When the MPO will revisit or update its TAM targets should be determined in consultation with the transit providers and State DOT and documented in a written agreement between the transit providers, the MPOs, and the State DOT.

MPOs are also not required to update or revisit their TAM targets every time a State DOT or transit provider updates its TAM targets. However, best practices would encourage consultation and communication with State DOTs and transit providers to ensure alignment of targets.

CATS and NCDOT provided their fiscal year (FY) 2024 TAM targets to the CRTPO in June 2024. The CRTPO supported the CATS and NCDOT TAM targets as provided by the transit agencies.

Please note: TAM targets are updated annually by CATS and NCDOT on the behalf of the Tier II agencies.

CRTPO Planning Area TAM Targets

Asset Category: Rolling Stock

% of revenue vehicles within a particular asset class that have met or exceeded their Useful Life Benchmark (ULB)

Vehicle ClassTypeUseful Life Benchmark (ULB)FY24 Target
FY24 Target
BROver-the-road Bus14 years61%N/A
BUBus12 years (CATS)
14 years (NCDOT)
CUCutaway Bus5 years (CATS)
10 years (NCDOT)
LRLight Rail30 years0%N/A
MVMini-van8 years100%20%
SRStreetcar30 years0%N/A
VNVan5 years (CATS)
8 years (NCDOT)
Asset Category: Rolling Stock Table

Asset Category: Equipment

% of non-revenue vehicles within a particular asset class that have met or exceeded their Useful Life Benchmark (ULB)

Vehicle ClassTypeUseful Life Benchmark (ULB)FY24 Target
FY24 Target
8 years24%20%
AOTrucks and Other Rubber Tire Vehicles14 years12%20%
AOSteel Wheel Vehicles25 yearsN/AN/A
Asset Category: Equipment table

Asset Category: Facilities

% of facilities with a condition rating below 3.0 on the FTA Transit Economic Requirements Model (TERM) Scale

Facility TypeUseful Life Benchmark (ULB)FY24 Target
FY24 Target
Administrative and MaintenanceN/A0%20%
Passenger and ParkingN/A0%20%
Asset Category: Facilities table

Asset Category: Infrastructure

% of track segments with performance restrictions

Infrastructure TypeUseful Life Benchmark (ULB)FY24 Target
FY24 Target
LRLight RailN/A0%N/A
SRStreetcar RailN/A0%N/A
Asset Category: Infrastructure table

*Targets established by CATS and NCDOT in 2024 and adopted by CRTPO Board in June 2024. The FY for CATS and NCDOT is July-June.

Transit operators must update their TAM targets annually.  MPOs are encouraged to update their TAM targets when they update their TIP or MTP.

ULB = Useful life benchmark – the expected life cycle or the acceptable period of use in service for a capital asset, as determined by a transit provider/State, or the default benchmark provided by FTA. 

TERM = Transit Economic Requirements Model – FTA’s Capital Needs Analysis Tool used to assess the current physical condition and future investment needs of the nation’s transit assets/operators.  The TERM Scale includes the following ratings:  5 (Excellent), 4 (Good), 3 (Adequate), 2 (Marginal), 1 (Poor). 


As part of the TAM Final Rule, every agency that owns, operates, or manages capital assets used to provide public transportation and receives federal financial assistance under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53 as a recipient or subrecipient must develop a TAM Plan. The TAM Final Rule required initial TAM plans to be developed by October 1, 2018. A TAM Plan must be update in its entirety at least every four years, and it must cover a horizon period of at least four years.

Tier I agencies must develop their own TAM plan and comply with all nine elements defined in the TAM Final Rule. Tier II agencies may develop their own plans or participate in a group TAM plan, which is compiled by a group TAM plan sponsor (generally the State DOT). Tier II agencies are responsible for only the first four plan elements.

CATS developed its TAM plan in October 2018. NCDOT completed its group TAM plan on behalf of the Tier II agencies in October 2018. TAM plans are available from each transit agency upon request. Both agencies are required to update these plans by October annually. MPOs are not required to develop TAM plans.


Transit operators do not submit their TAM plans to FTA, although they must be available for review and ongoing oversight. Transit operators are required to share their TAM plans with State DOT and MPO planning partners.

Transit operators are required to submit their 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 to FTA’s National Transit Database (NTD) annually based on their fiscal year:

  • July 1 – June 30: Report by October 31
  • October 1 – September 30: Report by January 31
  • January 1 – December 31: Report by April 30

CATS and NCDOT have concurrent fiscal years July 1 – June 30 and must report by October 31.

The CRTPO reported its TAM targets to NCDOT and the transit agencies in the form of a resolution.

Accountability & Transparency

FTA requires transit agencies and State DOTs to assess their progress toward meeting their TAM targets in their annual report submitted to the NTD. 

FTA intends to verify compliance with TAM requirements through its regularly scheduled oversight activity and existing programs, such as the triennial oversight program. MPO compliance will be assessed through the existing MPO certification process.

Performance targets are a local decision and are neither approved nor rejected by FTA. FTA does not award or penalize a transit provider, a group plan sponsor, or an MPO for achieving or missing a target.

Additional Resources