Reliability Centered Maintenance: A Case Study of Railway Transit Maintenance to Achieve Optimal Performance

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, place - north america, infrastructure - rolling stock


Implementation, Infrastructure preservation, Operation and maintenance, Operational issues, Passenger rail services


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to identify the types of obstacles and patterns experienced by a single heavy rail transit agency located in North America that embedded a Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) Process. The outcome of the RCM process also examined the impact of RCM on availability, reliability, and safety of rolling stock. This qualitative study interviewed managers (10 cases), and non-managers (10 cases) at the transit agency obtain data. The data may serve to help rail transit leaders determine future strategic directions that would improve this industry. Despite the RCM record in other fields, it has infrequently been used in heavy rail transit agencies. The research method for the first portion of this qualitative case study was to collect data from subjects by administering an open-ended, in-depth personal interview, of manager and non-managers. The second portion of the study explored how the RCM process affected rolling stock for availability, reliability, and safety. The second portion of the study used data derived from project documents and reports (such as progress reports, email, and other forms of documentation) to answer questions about the phenomena. The exploration and identification of the patterns and obstacles is important because organizational leaders in other heavy rail transit systems may use this knowledge to assist in embedding the process more smoothly, efficiently, and effectively to obtain the desired end results.


Permission to publish this abstract has been given by The Mineta Transportation Institute, copyright remains with them.