“Be innovative and adapt” was the theme of Monday’s “Integrated and Innovative Mobility Management” session, as President/Executive Director of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Gary Thomas led a three-person panel on the future of public transit.
King County Metro’s Assistant GM, Planning and Customer Service, Christina O’Claire recommended that since customers are expecting speed and convenience, agencies pilot multiple programs.
Not all the programs will be successful she said, but the point is to figure out what works for each individual transit agency, and most importantly, its customers.
In his opening remarks, Thomas echoed something similar, telling the packed session to “fail fast, fix fast.”
One common topic was the prevalence of transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, taking business away from public transportation.
While transit companies can’t fight Uber and Lyft, they can become a part of the conversation and sometimes partner with the rideshare companies to provide solutions to problems, such as first-mile, last-mile.
O’Claire said that it’s important to let all players involved know, from the board of directors to the customers themselves, what is the most cost effective options; sometimes ridesharing might be a more cost effective option, but other times public transit is better.
Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s VP, Planning for Development and Innovation, Brad Thoburn also recommended testing out shared mobility and integration options, which can often compliment transit.
Drawing on international examples, Jerome Pourbaix, director, regional offices and services, for the International Association of Public Transport in Belgium, gave several examples of successful integration scenarios, from care sharing services in Switzerland to bikesharing in Turkey.
He encouraged the idea of “mobility as a service” and integrated mobility platforms. Using the Smile project in Vienna, Pourbaix discussed how integrating transit options into one app where customers can look at routes, book cars or bikes, and buy train tickets, increased public transit usage in the city.