Atlanta, Georgia Transit Asset Management System Pilot Project

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) participated in a pilot program (“pilot”) that looks at climate stressors in the Atlanta region, and explores ways that MARTA may modify their asset management system to monitor changes to the region’s assets caused by climate change and help identify response strategies. Under this pilot, MARTA inventoried system assets and used climate risk modeling projections to assess the vulnerability of assets to climate risk; identified strategies to manage risks; and incorporated risk management strategies into lifecycle management plans by monitoring and updating asset records following any change in condition.

As part of the pilot, MARTA and the project partners used climate data and projections to assess risks for MARTA assets. Some of the key climate stressors and possible transportation impacts include:

  • Higher average and extreme temperatures, which could lead to more failures of electrical infrastructure, affecting signals, communications, passenger information systems, etc.
  • More frequent and intense precipitation events could impact operations in areas more prone to flooding – particularly bus operations on local streets and roads – and could increase blockages of drainage facilities like culverts, exacerbating flood risks.

Separately, MARTA had also developed a new capital module for its asset management system (their infrastructure database) that allows them to easily catalogue the state of repair of assets in their system. In this module, MARTA ranks the priority level of assets, their condition, and age. During the pilot project, MARTA assessed potential climate hazards to the system, such as flooding, high wind, drought and temperature. MARTA then updated its capital asset module to address sustainability, resiliency and environmental issues by flagging assets in the database that are vulnerable. After assessing climate risks to assets in the system, MARTA identified strategies to manage risks. These include: revising design standards; assessing how safety, service and staffing operations will be impacted; maintaining and monitoring facilities; and rehabilitating and replacing systems by discussing priorities, funding, and delivery methods. Finally, under the pilot MARTA adjusted capital project prioritization by weighting factors to account for additional risk. MARTA is also considering additional preventative strategies that will help maintain their system and protect against climate change (e.g., placing sensors in unstaffed areas). MARTA developed the new capital module using part of a $1.38 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

The pilot project to study the integration of climate change with transit asset management was funded with $175,000 from the Federal Transit Administration as one of its seven climate change adaptation pilots. Georgia Tech received the grant in partnership with MARTA, and Parsons Brinckerhoff provided technical as well. The project report outlines how transit agencies can identify climate hazards and vulnerable assets, and identifies opportunities to integrate adaptation strategies into a transit asset management system, using MARTA as its case study.


This Adaptation Clearinghouse entry was prepared with support from the Federal Highway Administration. This entry was most recently updated in January 2016.


Publication Date: August 2013

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