January 2020 Technology Updates
- Author: Kevin Chambers
- Date: January 15, 2020
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Connecting individuals to the transit options that exist in their area is a key component of mobility management. From updating routes to implementing new real-time apps, communities are finding new ways to harness the latest wave of transportation technology to make it easier for riders to find and ride local transit options.
Danville Mass Transit, in Illinois, just introduced system-wide, computer-aided dispatch and vehicle tracking that syncs with the passenger app ETA SPOT, allowing riders the opportunity to plan their own trips. In Anchorage, Alaska, passengers can now use mobile ticketing on the People Mover, which makes fare payment far easier than the previous system that had required passengers to either carry cash or travel to a specific location to load money via credit card.
Despite the excitement around these new forms of services, communities must be careful in looking at what options may actually work for them. This article by Curbed highlights what communities can learn from those that both have and have not been successful in adapting to their new transit technologies. Due to this concern, some cities use less tech-focused ways to increase access to services and overall ridership. For example, Whistler, Canada offered free bus service over the summer which resulted in 400 fewer cars on the road. While free transit is not an option for some, this example highlights a less tech intensive way of connecting with riders.
A growing number of communities are looking to on-demand transit as an option to connect more residents to public transportation services. In Sacramento, a door-to-door micro transit service will begin a six-month pilot program as early as February 2018. Transit officials hope that this new service can provide trips at a lower cost than private ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, and without the 24-hour advanced request required by the dial-a-ride buses. Taking a lesson from the recent surge in ride sharing, thanks in part to Uber and Lyft, Colorado Springs Mountain Metro Transit has upgraded to an online carpool matching service to help local residents find someone to share a ride with for both commuting and other one-off trips.
These new tech options give transit agencies an opportunity to provide a smoother experience for their riders which eventually plays a role in increasing the quality of the service and the overall ridership.
And just for kicks (you’ll laugh later), check out this recent announcement that the Berlin Transit Authority is releasing a pair of sneakers that double as a transit pass and allow the owner to ride the metro for free for most of 2018. It goes to show how creativity can bring positive attention to transit and the benefits these systems provide.
Image Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York, Flickr, CC
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