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Technology 2010

Technology is nothing more than a tool -- albeit an often confusing one -- that has to be properly deployed in order to achieve the desired result. In other words, it is advisable to directly connect all forms of technology to organizational challenges they seek to mitigate. What technology is not, and when it fails us most profoundly, is when it becomes a solution looking for a problem. The purpose of this issue of Community Transportation is to develop more educated technology consumers in the transit field.

Make no mistake, the pace of change and adaptation of technology has hastened significantly in recent years. What's new today is often dated tomorrow. Keeping up with the latest and greatest in technology, however, is an expensive and dangerous game that transit systems and their leadership should be careful in pursuing. Rather than expensively chasing the technology curve, transit managers need to employ a set of filters with which they can evaluate technological advances and make the best decisions.


With select articles linked in PDF

  • Technology and Transit Or How I learned that Technology is Just Another Tool to Make My Service Better (PDF)(174 KB)
    by Scott Bogren
    In the public and community transit industry, technology can be anything from routing and scheduling software to cell phones, laptops, buses and wheelchair securement systems. In the past two decades, both the role and types of technology in the transit field have changed dramatically. The two-way radios, index cards, photocopied rider alerts and rubber bands have been replaced by cell phones, computerized mapping, Google and Facebook.
  • Technology-Driven Transit-Oriented Development (PDF)(341 KB)
    by Alden S. Raine, Ph.D.
    When he famously suggested that cows had laid out Boston, Ralph Waldo Emerson added, "Well, there are worse surveyors." While Emerson may have had a point about winding streets and hidden turns, another facet of Boston's urban planning is considerably more compelling. Boston has been a leader in transitoriented development (TOD) since long before the concept even had a name.
  • Wisconsin Progress: The Story of a Statewide Mobility Management Program (PDF)(328 KB)
    by Rich Sampson
    From the sweeping shores of Lake Michigan to the rolling dairy farms along the Mississippi River, Wisconsin hosts a vibrant range of communities, cultures and regions. And in as much as these varied aspects form a thriving and unique state, so too do their communities offer a spectrum of mobility options to meet the needs of Wisconsinites. Large transit operations in Milwaukee and Madison reside along with multi-county rural systems in the state's northwest and southwest corners, and demand-response taxi and tribal transit services provide crucial connections in smaller and more rural areas, comprising an innovative network of transportation services across the Badger State. And while many distinct elements comprise the important traits of each community or region, one common initiative unites these disparate transit operations: mobility management.
  • Mobility Management Takes a Page from Amazon's Winning Strategy for Customer Service (PDF)(506 KB)
    by David Cyra, PE
    Mobility management is the culmination of many efforts over the years to streamline and coordinate transportation. Mobility management takes the principle of the overall customer experience and applies that to transportation service within our communities, regions and states.
  • Financing and Implementing Technology for Transit (PDF)(179 KB)
    This article is an excerpt from TCRP Report 76, Guidebook for Selecting Appropriate Technology Systems for Small Urban and Rural Public Transportation Operators. It was written by the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University in association with KFH Group and TransCore. It is reprinted here with permission of the Transportation Research Board. The full document is available at

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