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APTA Annual Meeting Takeaways: The Times, They Are A Changin’

As always, APTA conferences and meetings are overflowing with networking, educational opportunities and a whole lot of fun! The Genfare Team—fresh from Nashville—reports on all things APTA Annual Meeting—industry trends, new technologies, and industry observations.

Genfare plays an active role in the public transit industry, from participating in industry events such as APTA Annual to our daily interactions with our fare collection clients and partner network. Genfare participated at APTA Annual Meeting, and compiled the following takeaways:

All About Mobility / MaaS

Mobility and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) have been the most popular buzzwords of 2018. Every conference we’ve attended this year integrated this important topic into their show in some way or another.

MaaS integrates all means of travel together by combining options from all transit providers into a single service—no more stress of trip planning and making several payments. MaaS makes getting around simpler and far more efficient—but are transit agencies ready to make this leap?

Facilitating the conversation, several representatives from the FTA were on hand in Nashville. Gwo-Wei Torng, PhD Director, Mobility Innovation Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation (TRI) provided an overview of the FTA’s MOD Sandbox Demonstration Program. Additionally, he provided a few URLs for those interested in learning more about the FTA’s efforts and research:

Autonomous Vehicles

Not quite as popular, but just as buzzworthy is the autonomous vehicle. Since the beginning of 2018, we’ve been hearing a lot about autonomous vehicle pilot programs.

Self-driving buses and shuttles can promise safer areas to walk and ride, cleaner air, and condensed noise pollution. Paratransit services also may become less expensive in order to assist riders, whether the autonomous vehicle completes a full ride or shuttles a rider to a transportation hub.

Some locations where driverless shuttles are being tested and operated include the city of Arlington, TX; the Bay Area in San Francisco, CA; Jacksonville, FL and around the world in Paris and Singapore. It’ll be interesting to see how autonomous vehicles will change the landscape of transportation—this is one technology to keep an eye on.

Looking to the future—biometrics, open payments

Speaking of technology, there are so many innovative ways to look at the Fare Collection Solutions of the future! From biometrics to contactless payments, many of these technologies are already live overseas.

Emerging biometric technologies—fingerprint scanners, embedded chips and even facial recognition software have become means of identifying us and for payment purposes. While adoption is slow, and these means of payments are not yet widespread, we still want to think about the possibilities.

But are these forms of payment actually secure? What does this mean for the future of Fare Collection? What does regulation and compliance look like? Would these new technologies create a better customer experience? What about those who prefer to fly under the radar when it comes to privacy? While we clearly cannot answer these questions at this time, it sure is fun to think about the transit agency of the future.

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