Transit Vehicle Reliability
Transit service1 interruptions due to mechanical failures remained relatively level from 1995 through 2000,2 averaging between 18 and 19 mechanical problems per 100,000 revenue vehicle-miles [1, 2] (figure 57).
Among transit vehicles, buses and light rail had the highest rates of mechanical failure in 2000. Buses broke down an average of 28 times per 100,000 revenue vehicle-miles, while light-rail vehicles broke down 15 times per 100,000 revenue vehicle-miles. Light-rail vehicle breakdowns have changed the most since 1995. In that year, there were 32 mechanical failures per 100,000 revenue vehicle-miles. However, between 1995 and 2000, the number of light-rail authorities rose to 25, up from 22 in 1995 [1, 2].
1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, National Summaries and Trends (Washington, DC: Annual issues), also available at http://www.ntdprogram.com/, as of April 2003.
2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002 (Washington, DC: 2002), table 1-32 and Transit Profile, also available at http://www.bts.gov/, as of April 2003.
1 Here transit service includes:
Light rail—streetcar-type vehicles operated on city streets, semi-exclusive rights-of-way, or exclusive rights-of-way. Service may be provided by step-entry vehicles or by level boarding.
Commuter rail—urban passenger train service for short-distance travel between a central city and adjacent suburb.
Heavy rail—electric railways with the capacity to transport a heavy volume of passenger traffic and characterized by exclusive rights-of-way, multicar trains, high speed, rapid acceleration, sophisticated signaling, and high-platform loading. Also known as “subway,” “elevated (railway),” or “metropolitan railway (metro).”
Demand responsive—nonfixed-route, nonfixed-schedule vehicles that operate in response to calls from passengers or their agents to the transit operator or dispatcher.
2 Data prior to 1995 and later than 2000 were collected using different definitions of what constitutes an interruption of service and are not comparable.