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59 CHAPTER 3 Findings on Emerging Technologies This chapter focuses on the second of the two major ob- agencies on technology projects and technology strategic jectives of this study: promoting consideration of emerging planning. Agencies' focus on integration of existing systems is technologies for application in transit. Five "technologies to consistent with these major findings from the FTA report, watch" are identified. These emerging technologies are those Advanced Public Transportation Systems: The State of the Art-- that are not currently in use by public transportation agen- Update 2006: cies, but are expected to be available to them within the next 10 years. From the research conducted for this study, it is The greatest improvements in ITS will come from efforts to apparent that most agencies have little if any time to devote integrate existing technologies into cohesive state-of-the-art to anticipating future technologies. The information pre- systems, where collectively they provide far more benefits than any one technology functioning independently. sented here is intended to help fill that gap. Introducing these The stand-alone nature of most individual technology deploy- technologies here is intended to promote agencies' continued ments limits the benefits that could be provided by business- tracking of the development and applicability of these and oriented, enterprise-wide technology strategies.88 similar technologies, ultimately improving their chances of successful adoption. Resource constraints seemed to be the main thing pre- As a prelude to the discussion of future technologies, some venting the interviewed agencies from focusing more on findings are presented from the transit agency interviews. These anticipating future technologies. However, for many less findings characterize agencies' general perspectives on future progressive agencies, resource constraints are not the only technologies and their relative focus on them compared to significant reason for the lack of attention paid to emerging existing technologies. The discussion of high-potential emerg- technologies. The literature and the interviews and focus ing technologies is divided into two major sections. The first group conducted for this study emphasize the importance of identifies five "top" technologies and the second highlights a utilizing COTS technologies when possible. This may suggest handful of other promising technologies. that some agencies aren't very interested in technology until they see real products they can purchase, more or less off the 3.1 Agency Perspectives shelf. If this is the case, the information on emerging tech- on Future Technologies nologies presented here may be useful primarily to those agencies that are interested in anticipating future technolo- From the interviews conducted for this study, it is evident gies but simply lack the resources to do so. This information that most agencies are able to devote very little attention to may also be especially useful to consortia like the developing "emerging" or "future" technologies (those technologies not Applied Transit Technology Center led UTA. With their pooled currently commercially available to transit), even though they resources, the Applied Transit Technology Center consortia are quite interested in these technologies. Rather, agencies hopes to devote much more attention to the application of seem to expend nearly all of their available resources on deal- the latest technology than any one transit agency can afford ing with the challenges associated with implementing current to devote. technologies, such as electronic fare payment, and getting the most value out of their deployed technologies, such as by in- tegrating various systems. These findings are consistent with the experience of the project team in working directly with 88 Hwang et al., Advanced Public Transportation Systems.