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Enterprise Asset Management for Enhanced Sustainability

Real-world lessons in maximizing the methodology
  • Gary A. Smith
November/December 2016

Back in 2015, I wrote about how my organization, New York City Transit (NYCT), was implementing enterprise asset management as part of an initiative for the entire Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The goal was to apply enterprise asset management strategies to transit systems, the Metro-North and Long Island Railroads, and bridges and tunnels in order to comply with the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). MAP-21 was signed into law in 2012 and mandated the development and use of enterprise asset management systems in order to receive federal funds.

In my previous article, I discussed how supply chain plays a pivotal role in enterprise asset management and has a direct impact on Customer Relations, as it helps ensure the right parts are available at the right time, in the right quantities, at the right location, and for the right price. NYCT’s supply chain, in conjunction with the enterprise asset management program, is working to efficiently optimize operating costs and the lives of its 5,700 buses and 6,300 subway cars.

Notably, enterprise asset management has important functions beyond maximizing an asset’s return on investment throughout its useful life. There also are clear sustainability-related advantages to be gained. Thus, as NYCT moves forward with this initiative, it also is striving to leverage these benefits.

Energy consumption

In addition to the previously mentioned MAP-21, NYCT facilities are bound by New York Executive Order 88, which requires a 20 percent reduction of energy consumption compared with 2010 levels by 2020. Enterprise asset management will serve this purpose by optimizing the condition of NYCT assets and energy use.

My organization spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year on energy—the majority of which is used for propulsion, such as electricity in subway cars and diesel and natural gas for buses. In addition, consumption is a direct contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. To deal with these cost and environmental impacts, enterprise asset management systems now have modules that can monitor energy consumption at the asset level in order to determine if operations are working efficiently or if repair or replacement is required.


As a transportation provider, NYCT generates its operating revenue through fare purchases on subways and buses. Obviously, any revenue-producing assets that are taken out of service negatively affect Customer Relations by causing delays and overcrowding.

Maintenance falls into two categories: planned and unplanned. The former is usually time- or mileage-based. This means that activities, workload, and inventory can be determined in advance with reasonable certainty. The latter is, by nature, unpredictable. However, with the robust and real-time analysis provided by enterprise asset management systems, much uncertainty can be removed.

For instance, predictive and condition-based maintenance programs help determine when to perform maintenance functions through the systematic application of engineering knowledge, ensuring functionality and extending life. Techniques include inspection, lubrication, testing, and adjustments—all prior to any actual equipment failure. Similarly, condition-based maintenance uses inspection; sensors; and monitoring of vibration, heat, and wear to observe actual conditions in order to determine when to perform maintenance.

Breathing easier

Taken in total, enterprise asset management is a real win for the MTA and NYCT. The methodology enables the organizations to enhance their assets and save money on maintenance, labor, and inventory. Furthermore, related sustainability features make it possible to optimize energy and fuel use for buses, subways, and facilities. The results are further cost savings, a smaller carbon footprint, and greater reliability for customers.

Gary A. Smith, CFPIM, CSCP, is vice president of the division of supply logistics for New York City Transit. He may be contacted at

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