Significant Regulatory Guidance

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Performance Management

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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


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:

Rolling Stock & Equipment

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. 

Reporting Units:

  • 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
Example Asset Class Example Vehicle Type*
 Percentage of revenue
 vehicles met or exceeded
 Useful Life Benchmark
 by vehicle type
 Rolling Stock  Buses  Articulated Bus (AB)
 Cutaway Bus (CU)
 Other Passenger Vehicles  Cable Car (CC)
 Railcars  Light Rail Vehicle (LR)
 Commuter Rail Locomotive (RL)
 Ferries  Ferryboat (FB)
 Percentage of nonrevenue
 vehicles met or exceeded
 Useful Life Benchmark
 by vehicle type
Equipment  Nonrevenue
 Automobile (AO)
 Rubber-Tired Vehicles
 Steel-Wheeled Vehicles

* 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: 

TERM Rating Condition Description
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: 

  1. Administrative and Maintenance
  2. 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?


Performance Measure Asset
Example Asset Class Example Facility Class

Percentage of assets
with condition rating
below 3.0 on FTA
TERM Scale
by asset class

Facilities  Administrative &
 Maintenance Facilities
 Revenue Collection Facility
 Service and Inspection Facility
 Parking &
 Passenger Facilities
 Parking Garages
 Park and Ride Lots
 Rail Terminals
 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.


Performance Measure Asset
Example Asset Class Example Infrastructure Type
 Percentage of track
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
Single Turnout

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Target Setting

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. 

Planning Targets

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. 

Additional resources on the target setting requirements of the Planning Rule can be found through the TAM – Planning Fact Sheet and FAQs.  

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Each entity developing a TAM Plan must report 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. These requirements will be phased in starting in the FY2018 reporting period. 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




- Report FY17 asset inventory module (AIM) data to NTD
- Submit targets for FY18 to NTD (optional)




- Report FY18 AIM data to NTD (1st required)
- Submit targets for FY19 to NTD (1st required)




- Report FY19 AIM data to NTD
- Submit targets for FY20 to NTD
- Submit narrative report to NTD (1st required)




- Report FY20 AIM data to NTD
- Submit targets for FY21 to NTD
- Submit narrative report to NTD




- Complete Updated TAM Plan

Oct 2022

See TSI Calculating Performance Measures and Setting Targets – Lesson 6 for more information on reporting and next steps.

Asset Inventory Module (AIM)

Condition assessments/performance results and projected targets for the next fiscal year will be submitted annually to NTD Asset Inventory Module (AIM). For those participating in group plans, current reporters are responsible for submitting their inventories and condition assessment data. The group plan sponsor will report inventory and condition data for participants who do not currently submit to the NTD. See the Reporting Manual for more information regarding reporting. The TAM 2018 NTD Year 1 Summary aggregates the NTD AIM data.  

Performance Measures & Targets

The NTD will minimize redundant data entry where possible by pulling information from the asset inventory forms into the performance measure and target forms (A-90). For example, the FTA default ULB will be automatically entered into the Rolling Stock and Equipment forms, however a reporter may customize the ULB by changing the value in the form. A prior approval is not required to modify the ULB however an NTD validator may contact you for further information if the value is outside of range. Tier I transit providers, Tier II independent plan transit providers and Group Plan Sponsors will report targets for the next fiscal year to NTD starting in report year 2018, using the A-90 form. Here is a video explaining how to report targets with the A-90 form. Group plan sponsors will report unified targets for all of their participants regardless of how the participants reported AIM data.

Narrative Report

Starting in report year 2019, agencies must also provide an annual narrative report to NTD describing changes to asset condition from the previous year and detailing progress to meet performance targets set in the previous year. You can find an example format for the Narrative Report here.

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The following resources may be helpful when working on your performance measure targets and reporting.

These Frequently Asked Questions provide specific insight:

The Targets & Performance Resource page includes additional resources on performance management:

The Peer Library page shares actual agency examples of performance measurement and target setting:

Other resources on performance measurement, target setting, and reporting:

Contact TAM to share your agency’s performance measure and documentation.

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Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2020
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