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Thought Leader Transit

Risk avoidance via communication of wait times


Leslie Caceda

By Leslie Caceda

I love adrenaline- rock climbing, running around a fun trail, cycling in Atlanta traffic. I am not supremely risk adverse. But, when it comes to my time I fear wasting it by not knowing if and when a train/bus is coming to get me to work or general life on time. What would get me (and I assume many others) on the train or bus more often is dependability on wait times. Por ejemplo, if I am biking or driving down RDA or DeKalb avenue and see the train expectancy times on the outside of the MARTA stations, then I would more often choose to jump on the train to meet up with pals in Decatur or shop at Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market (or similar places where parking can be a nightmare or pricey).

An innovative thought I’ve heard plenty amongst dinner parties is that NPR should add expected train/bus arrival times and/or delays to their traffic report. This is genius! NPR already highlights where crashes or delays exist for car commuters. Why not highlight if a nearby train/bus is running on schedule by highlighting any train/bus delays or if all is on schedule. This might help get people to choose not to sit in traffic during their commute and get to work on time by catching a train or bus.

The future is bright.
BMW today unleashed BMWi3, their all electric vehicle. While that is a feat. The single most fascinating thing about the vehicle is the app that comes with the car. The app tells you about your battery charge, allows you to set the temperature of the cabin before you step into the car, and helps you route your trip seamlessly from your smart phone inside your home to inside your car.  Are you ready for the real genius? The navigation system helps you avoid delays not just by highlighting crashes or on road construction, as NPR does, but also by notifying you of local alternate transportation options (trains, buses, and, one can hope, bikeshare).

For the sake of full disclosure, I can not afford a BMW but the technology they are unleashing makes me absolutely giddy none-the-less. Just imaging- if BMW can unleash technology which guides BMW owners to the quickest and most efficient route, NPR helps out the non-BMWi3 owners, and MARTA posts times on the outside of their stations, then a trifecta to obliterate the risk of wasting time waiting for a delayed train or bus would be achievable. And, in turn, ridership would be increased who-knows-how-many-fold!


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