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Risk Management at FTA
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Risk analysis is the science of risks and their probability and evaluation. Probabilistic risk assessment is one analysis strategy usually employed in science and engineering..— Excerpted from Risk_analysis_(engineering) on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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"I’ll talk first about managing risk. If you can’t do this well, everything else flies out the window. ... We must find ways of institutionally embedding risk and accountability in the decision making process for mega-projects. We take this very seriously at FTA. We scrutinize the risks on every major capital transit project that comes to us for funding. ... Our goal is to manage risk better - - not eliminate it. ... When (FTA or its grantees) ... over-estimate benefits, and underestimate costs ...(there are ) ... real consequences for us. When costs rise unexpectedly, ...(the US) ... Congress comes to us for an explanation. We recognized that risks should be assessed earlier in our projects, and re-assessed at key milestones." (emphasis added and reformatted)
- (FTA Administrator Simpson speaking at the National Transit Forum, Ottawa, Ontario, on February 13, 2008)

Agency WorksEdit

  • 1985 FTA study ("A Study of Transit Operating Revenue/Cost Ratios") was submitted in response to the Conference Report on the Continuing Resolution (H.J. Res. 648) which directed the Department of Transportation to assess the policy implications and technical feasibility of requiring transit properties to meet a minimum operating revenue-operating cost ratio as a condition of receiving Federal operating assistance.
  • 1990 FTA Study ("the Pickrell study") on Urban Rail Transit Projects: Forecast Versus Actual Ridership and Costs.
  • 1994 FTA study on Risk Assessment in Fixed Guideway Transit System Construction
  • 1995 FTA study on Probabilistic Risk Analysis for Turnkey Construction
  • 1995 FTA Office of Planning study ("The Transit Capital Cost Study") presents the results of research aimed at improving the methods used in the estimation of capital costs for light and heavy rail fixed guideway systems. Specifically, this research yielded a set of cost indices, one for each major fixed guideway component as well as indices for groups of related components. The research also considers the properties of these indices relative to broader measures of inflation (e.g., the CPI) suggests how they should be used in estimating project cash flows, and suggests directions for further research.
  • 2003 FTA study on Light Rail Transit projects capital costs.
  • 2005 FTA study on cost controls for transit projects.
  • 2006 FTA study on Heavy Rail transit project capital costs.
  • 2007 FTA study on Contractor performance for forecasting ridership and cost for transit projects.
  • 2008 FTA study conducting an analysis of the predicted and actual impacts of 21 recently opened major transit projects that have been constructed using funds under the New Starts program (49 USC 5309 et al). This report builds on a prior study by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA –FTA’s previous name) in 19901 and a more recent effort that FTA completed in 20032 to analyze the projects that have opened for revenue service between 1990 and 2002. With the publication of this report, FTA has completed a comprehensive analysis of the predicted and actual impacts of almost 50 New Starts projects built to date.

Agency WhitepapersEdit

Regulatory FrameworkEdit

Agency Training MaterialsEdit

Grantee WorksEdit

As part of their project implementation, FTA grantees produce project management plans and specialized management sub-plans to mitigate and manage project risk. Several larger grantees are organized in their own portals to present source materials. These materials are provided for under the respective state public records acts.

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