How public transit agencies can strategically leverage information technology to modernize operations

Five steps for modernizing public transit organizations
: May 2022
June 2020

The COVID-19 crisis forced transit agencies to quickly facilitate flexible operations through virtual platforms. Some agencies managed the disruption better than others. Here’s a roadmap for developing a comprehensive IT strategy to improve operations and better manage the next crisis.

Andy Wakefield
Andy Wakefield

Director, Transit Operations Management Consulting Practice

Freya Gustafsson
Freya Gustafsson

Principal Consultant

When U.S. transit providers look back at the COVID-19 crisis, it’s possible they might see this crisis as a pivotal moment where transit agencies learned to facilitate remote work. Some agencies may breathe a sigh of relief that they invested in cloud-based information technology (IT) systems to allow personnel to work from home, remain agile, and effectively manage the disruption.  

Yet few would argue that transit agencies operated seamlessly during the crisis. For some agencies, mobile platforms were not yet in place or ready to handle the increased demand. For others, personnel were not ready to use these platforms.

COVID-19 should provide a pivotal point – a wake-up call –for agencies to think proactively about building IT systems to help support and modernize operations.

Here are five steps transit agencies can take to modernize IT systems and ensure personnel are prepared to operate information technology platforms:

1.           Developan IT strategic roadmap.

Agencies should be equipped with a strategic plan to guide decision making and the management of information technology platforms. This should be a living document that is revised as new technologies emerge and as organizations confront new challenges.

Designing this strategic plan requires a thorough understanding of what an organization needs its IT systems to accomplish. Agencies should take time to evaluate their operations holistically, understand their best business practices, identify functional needs, map their own internal organizational structure, take an inventory their current projects, and then align their IT strategy to support what know to best support efficient, reliable service.


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