ITS World Congress will be a Fundamental Force in NYC Transit Improvements recently got our hands on some insider knowledge from sources within the transportation business.

First, the obvious, but not widely known.  Coming a year from now, New York City will host the 15th World Congress on Intelligent Transportation Systems.  This is hands down the absolute largest, most important expo for the entire transportation business.  Everyone who is anyone in the transport biz attends this show.  Manufacturers, builders, tech geeks, etc. all get in on the act.

So what does this mean for the everyday transit user?  Hopefully some quick improvements.

Our sources tell us that the upcoming World Congress is a regular topic of conversation for high level transportation officials in the city.  Why?  Because no host city wants to be embarrassed by the state of their transportation system. Part of the World Congress includes tours of facilities in the city.  During that week, NYC will be the world wide focus for the transportation business.  That’s a ton of pressure if you’re on the receiving end of that focus.  You want to be on top of your game.

So what will we see?  Well, it’s no coincidence that we have seen somewhat random program launches by the MTA like:  online escalator/elevator alerts, weekend service alerts via email, MTA trip planner, cellphone service in the subway, alternative payment methods, and most recently the SMS text message alert RFP.

So you should expect to see many of these new technology initiatives sprout up.  The more jewels the city has to show at the World Congress the better.  All those new hybrid buses…yeah…those will be looked at too.

It’s reasonable to assume we would have gotten all this stuff eventually even if the World Congress weren’t coming to town.  However, it probably wouldn’t be happening all at the same time (now!).

The new New Jersey 511 system is a perfect example.  (511 is a call in service for NJ traffic and transit alerts).  The NJ DOT had this technology 4 or 5 years ago already purchased.  However, we hear that they allegedly sat on it because of bureaucratic issues.  Then, all of a sudden, they caught wind that New York and Connecticut plan to launch a 511 system.  So they jumped to get theirs up.  Unfortunately, they are launching “new” 5 year old technology.  So when you call the number, you hear an ancient text-to-speech voice reading you traffic/transit alerts.  Pretty lame-0. 

Here’s what the World Congress says to expect at the 2008 show:

The 15th World Congress on ITS and ITS America’s 2008 Annual Meeting will be the largest event in the world for ITS leaders, policy makers and other industry professionals. Registrants will have access to both the Annual Meeting and World Congress events, including more than 200 extraordinary education sessions, exciting tours, a grand-scale exhibition hall and limitless opportunities to connect with an international audience in a world-class city.

We invite you to join us for this international event in New York which promises to be the most dynamic event yet and will certainly set the standard for future congresses and meetings.  See you in New York!

So expect to see all kinds of new transportation toys pop up all over the Tri-State area over the next year.  The absolute last thing the city wants is to look completely lame in front of the WHOLE WORLD.   We’ll see…

2 thoughts on “ITS World Congress will be a Fundamental Force in NYC Transit Improvements

  1. It’s still incredibly embarrassing that our stations don’t tell us when the next train is arriving (except the L) and that over a hundred of them don’t have PA systems, still. This “state of the art” technology (circa 1990 maybe) is in nearly every other city. Can we fix that maybe, please?


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