How Green Transit Technologies Can Shape The Future Of Public Transportation

Miroslav Katsarov is the CEO of Modeshift, a technology company bringing intelligent transportation to small- and mid-size transit agencies.

Governments around the globe are under increasing pressure to incorporate solutions that mitigate the effects of climate change. The accelerated transition to greener forms of transit offers a distinct opportunity for agencies to move in the right direction and achieve sustainability goals. I believe the adoption of green technologies is how we get there.

In this article, I discuss how the exploration and successful implementation of green technologies can foster innovation and change, creating a significant environmental impact that helps solve the challenges presented for Earth Day 2024 and beyond.

Emerging Technologies And Their Impact On Transportation

More public transit authorities are working toward modernizing their networks by investing in the right technologies and infrastructure that can allow them to move away from decades-old models that are no longer sufficient. Introducing new fleets of green transit vehicles, for example, can allow agencies to provide residents of cities with an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fossil-burning vehicles.

Agencies should further consider exploring the advantages of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning and apply them to data analysis, route optimization and predictive maintenance. A data-driven approach to transit allows agencies to become effective in their efforts to enhance operational efficiency, decrease travel time and save fuel and valuable resources while increasing passenger satisfaction.

How Technology Providers Can Help Agencies Transition To Green Transit

According to a report on the deployment of green tech in transit, one of the major hurdles for agency adoption is the need to contract multiple technology providers. The lack of turnkey providers means agencies are left with the burden of creating separate contracts for their vehicle fleets, charging infrastructure, maintenance and energy providers. To alleviate this burden, technology providers should work to create comprehensive solutions that are successfully integrated and compatible with other software solutions.

Agencies also expressed concern regarding the need for additional training materials and assistance from technology manufacturers. Further support for workforce training and expertise is needed to expand operational efficiency and accelerate the electrification process. Conducting small pilots before scaling can greatly assist with training staff on how to use these technologies, while also assessing if a certain solution meets their requirements. Tech companies would be wise to establish clear performance standards for both the hardware and software solutions and maintain those guidelines to ensure equipment is reliable and future-proofed.

Another issue for agencies is the lack of automation and the increasing need to reduce manual work in day-to-day operations as well as the charging of buses. Integrating back-end technology into public transit operations can help equip transport providers with the digital tools needed to assist them in the management of vehicle fleets, along with identifying their IT requirements in the field of tracking and analysis of vehicle telematics, charging, infrastructure and energy optimization—all of which are reliant on highly sophisticated software tools.

Integration, Compatibility And Interoperability: Pillars Of Building Future-Proof Mobility Systems

One of the major hurdles for planning teams usually revolves around the lack of engagement throughout the supply chain and the lack of understanding about the kind of data that is needed at various stages. In traditional models, design and contractor teams are constricted by heavily siloed information sources that limit data exchange, creating technical challenges such as file format compatibility and vendor lock-in.

Service providers need to consider that when building an urban mobility platform from the ground up, their main points of focus should be integration, compatibility and interoperability. Platforms should be designed in a way that can be seamlessly integrated with any existing transit system without the need for expensive hardware replacements.

Furthermore, when it comes to leveraging the full potential of AI and ML, it’s crucial to have a set of clear performance metrics in place along with key performance indicators (KPIs). AI excels at identifying the right information as well as areas for improvement within vast datasets, but it is up to transit providers to be effective in how they analyze customer preferences and behavior from the collected feedback and use it to improve services. Investing in tools that streamline support processes and workflows from the very beginning, such as chatbots, automation software and help desk platforms, can go a long way in ensuring customer satisfaction as well as creating the outlet where these advanced technologies can reveal their full potential.

Earth Day 2024: A Pressing Global Issue In Sustainability

2024’s Earth Day has revolved around the theme of “planet versus plastics,” presenting a chance for global leaders to bring forth innovative solutions that will help reduce plastic waste and production, aiding in the preservation of our natural environment. This campaign calls for actionable strategies and aims to achieve a 60% reduction in plastic production by 2040 with the help of various initiatives and technologies.

Today, one of the most effective ways that transit authorities can do their part in reducing the environmental impact of transportation is by exploring modern technologies aimed at increasing the number of people using green transit, thereby decreasing the number of cars on the road. Research shows that cars still dominate the way Americans commute, though public transit has considerable potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, public transit produces 76% less greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than a single-occupancy vehicle.

Furthermore, the pandemic has created a shift in the way transport providers approach fare collection—particularly regarding automation—accelerating the transition to contactless payments as a way of meeting safety standards along with the demand from riders for better and more seamless transit experiences. As it relates to the theme of planet versus plastics, agencies can reduce their carbon footprint by upgrading their digital mobility infrastructure and eliminating the need for physical tickets and plastic cards.

Conclusion

Leveraging the full potential of innovative solutions means being diligent in making use of the collected data and applying it to optimize routes, preserve resources and create services that people want and need. This is what I believe will bring people to public transit and get them out of their cars.

Once agencies gain a better understanding of how to manage their operations and assets through advanced technologies with the help of providers, they can become more effective and precise in their efforts, elevating their networks and moving toward a future where sustainable transport is the norm.


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