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7 CHAPTER 1 Introduction and Research Approach This report summarizes the results of TCRP Project J-9/ had a dramatic effect, and the challenge to use technology to Task 12, "New and Emerging Information Technologies for its fullest is ever present. As a result, many transit agencies Public Transportation." Other tasks within TCRP Project J-9, face decisions about which technologies are most appropri- "e-Transit: Electronic Business Strategies for Public Trans- ate for their use. portation," have considered issues such as the use of the Inter- The Internet and personal information and communica- net for training and certification and utilization of technol- tion devices as well as on-board vehicle and passenger tech- ogy in parts and inventory management. This study focuses nologies have revolutionized the way services are delivered on summarizing the value of technologies currently utilized and organizations are structured in many industries. Expec- in public transportation, synthesizing recommendations for tations have changed as customers have become accustomed how transit agencies can best benefit from the application of to obtaining new information and services on a real-time basis. advanced technologies, and identifying five emerging tech- Behind the scenes, electronic business processes, real-time nologies that hold promise for transit agencies. The intended vehicle data, and wireless technologies are starting to change the audience for this study includes individual public transporta- ways that organizations operate and conduct business. Oppor- tion agencies and the public transportation industry in gen- tunities to lower costs and improve efficiencies have, in some eral, including FTA and industry associations such as APTA. key examples, changed relationships among transit agencies, This chapter provides an overview of the research study their suppliers, and customers. Portals for government-to- and identifies the scope of this report. Chapters 2 and 3 pre- government and business-to-government marketplaces have sent the study findings. Findings related to current technolo- started to be offered through diverse organizations. Some tran- gies, including their value and how best to realize that value, sit agencies are offering or are preparing to offer customized are presented in Chapter 2. Findings related to future tech- itinerary planning and fare-media purchasing as well as real- nologies with high potential for use in public transportation time passenger information over the Internet. are presented in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 includes a summary However, for a variety of reasons, many transit agencies and interpretation of findings. have been slow to adopt new technologies. These reasons The successful completion of this study is a result of the include lack of information about new technologies and how very high degree of coordination and cooperation between they might be adapted to transit needs; lack of funding; fear the consultant research team, the TCRP program manager, of public failure in the adoption of new technology and the and the TCRP project panel. Throughout this report, the term attendant criticism; lack of knowledge about and expertise in the benefits of technology investments and how to sell these "project team" is used to denote these partners. benefits, particularly where benefits are not clearly quan- tifiable; and impediments posed by agencies' organizational 1.1 Project Overview structures, which tend to be hierarchical and command-and- control in nature. 1.1.1 Background The declining costs of communications, data storage, and Our society is vastly different from what it was just a few data retrieval are accelerating the opportunities for both tran- decades ago. The pervasiveness of technology has increased sit agencies and their customers to take advantage of the bene- access to information and changed the way people work, fits of technology. Transit managers, planners, and transporta- communicate, and travel. The trend toward globalization has tion technology professionals--all of whom must weigh the