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Technology Is Changing Transit

Magazine Articles June 18, 2019

Marco D’Angelo CUTA President & Chief Executive Officer Président-directeur général de l’ACTU

SINCE JOINING CUTA last July, I’ve been struck by how much we and our members are up to.

I want to thank those of you who have shared your ideas, experience, and energy with me so far. And I look forward to meeting and learning from many more of you. It’s a good thing we’re busy because the work we do has never mattered more to Canadians!

That’s a good introduction to the articles inside this spring issue of Urban Mobility Forum magazine. We’ve got stories from our members on novel ways to add riders and novel ways to communicate with them. Stories about transit vehicles that drive themselves and vehicles that use technology to better keep track of where they are.

This is just a technology teaser, though. For the full course, I hope you’ll come to our upcoming Spring Symposium in St. John’s from May 14 to 16 where we will explore transit’s increased use of technology. As our industry embraces new technology and big data to keep up to speed with our riders’ busy lives, there’s something new to learn every day and the symposium will be a great way to keep pace.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the stories in this edition of our magazine.

Read how Metrobus in St. John’s is boosting ridership by offering Air Miles to brand new riders. This initiative brought hundreds of new customers into the system and benefited existing users, who were offered Air Miles incentives to ride in off-peak times.

From the Toronto Transit Commission, we hear how they are responding to customers in real time, often while they’re on board, by using a dedicated Twitter handle (@TTChelps). It’s a great way to find out what riders are thinking, and every morning TTC leaders get the Twitter feedback from the day before.

In BC and Alberta, a pink autonomous shuttle called ELA (“Electric Autonomous”) became the first driverless vehicle open to the Canadian public. It was launched by Pacific Western Transportation and uses 3-D mapping, GPS localization, and advanced sensors linked to cameras to keep everyone safe. For those with mobility challenges, it comes with an automatic ramp.

From Engie Ineo, we get an update on how the Réseau de Transport de la Capitale in Québec City is using Engie’s intelligent transportation system to boost efficiency by using a computer-aided vehicle location system that also improves customer communications by giving real-time passenger information. It’s also piloting solar-powered digital signs with audio announcements to better inform visually impaired people.

And lastly, ACT Canada gives an overview of the new “transportation paradigm.” It goes by a number of other names but they all deal with creating unified mobility models that make us less reliant on cars through linked transportation that gets us where we want to go, sustainably.

Thank you for the work you do. I look forward to meeting you in St. John’s and to learning more together about the ways technology is changing transit.