South Florida Has High Hopes for Smart Transit Tech Investments
The emergence of smart technology for transit options could lure more South Florida riders as public transit becomes more convenient
By Mitch Bierman
Imagine finding the fastest way to get from your home to your destination using buses, commuter rail and people-movers, track them all in real time and purchase an e-ticket all on your cellphone from wherever you are. Imagine doing that and receiving vouchers for discounts at nearby stores and restaurants pushed to your device. As they say, “there’s an app for that!”
Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) have arrived. Mobile apps and wayside signage now provide real-time data on the location and progress of buses, trains, trolleys and street cars. Passengers have access to real-time information on usage and delays and up-to-the-minute details on the best routes on their smart phones and tablets. They make public transportation more user friendly, predictable and efficient.
South Florida will benefit tremendously from upgrading its transit technology. Use of public transportation is certainly on the rise, but there is room for major growth. Soon traffic frustration caused by congestion and delays will approach those faced by residents of Los Angeles and other infamous examples. Many South Floridians already commute of 90-120 minutes and spend $50-$100 a week on tolls. ITS provides some measure of hope. The emergence of smart technology for transit options like Metrobus, MetroRail, MetroMover, TriRail and even All Aboard Florida could lure more riders as public transit becomes more convenient because passengers know when the ride will arrive, when and where the tightest connections are, when they need a route change and how much the fare will cost. Passengers can also board vehicles faster when they pay their fares on their devices.