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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) procurement of new airport surface detection equipment (ASDE), specifically: (1) FAA procedures to determine its ASDE-3 operational requirements and specifications; (2) the adequacy of FAA support for those requirements; (3) the extent of production risk inherent in the ASDE-3 specification; and (4) the accuracy of the FAA ASDE-3 benefit-cost study regarding planned quantities and locations for the new equipment.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Federal Aviation Administration 1. The Administrator, FAA, should direct the ASDE-3 program office to: (1) evaluate the contractor's new system for tracking the contract schedule against planned milestones and ensure that it, or another system if necessary, will meet FAA needs for providing accurate information as a basis for making program decisions; and (2) use the results of the improved tracking system to identify performance and/or schedule areas requiring additional management control and determine, together with the contractor, how best to address these areas.
Closed - Implemented
FAA modified its contract to reflect the required changes to the contractor's progress tracking system.
Department of Transportation 2. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to formulate an action plan for developing more accurate and complete measures of passenger time savings and safety benefits, including estimates of the time and cost required to accomplish this. The action plan should: (1) examine the methodology used to value passenger time savings; and (2) provide for obtaining better data to estimate the value of passenger time savings and safety improvements.
Closed - Implemented
DOT is requiring FAA to improve its benefit-cost methodology to more accurately estimate the value of such elements as passenger time savings and safety benefits.

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