Can Big Tech Cause a Big Change in Public Transportation?

 

American cities were transformed by the advent of reliable public transportation decades ago. But as those cities have radically evolved, most public transit systems remain largely the same as they did generations ago.

Recently, the blend of tech and data has begun to change things though. The adoption of private sector Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) options like Uber and Lyft have already enhanced how people move around urban areas.

“There’s some concern about the private sector taking over what is a public function but in fact, if we can get everyone to work together, we will create a far better public transportation system,” Daniel Sperling, Founding Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis said.

Google announced last month that it would be implementing crowd-sourced data to alert users when public transportation systems are more crowded or delayed. This implementation of tech and data may be a sign of things to come, but there is still a long way to go before the ails of modern public transportation are put in the past and replaced with a better system.

“We’ve got to pull together the data and management systems and the technology to make it all seamless,” Sperling added.

Tech may not fundamentally change the look of vehicles, but it is already changing the way people get from point A to point B.

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