Emerging Changes. At the January 2019 Annual Conference of the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the role of technology change and the future of public transportation both received significant attention –in both formal sessions and informal attendee discussions. Three facts seem clear:
Blockchain is a new and potentially transformational technology for tracking of transactions between parties in a verifiable and permanent way that also makes tampering virtually impossible. It is already being tested in use for supply chain management by shipping and trucking companies, and freight railroads are also joining in. On the horizon is the potential for blockchain technology for public transportation, especially insofar as it facilitates more integrated transportation services offered by partner organizations.
The transportation ecosystem is changing rapidly. Individuals have new transportation options, and nationwide trends show transit ridership in decline. New technologies, such as automated vehicles, are expected to continue to reshape mobility in the future. In this environment, transit system owners and operators are seeking to adapt their network design and services. Improved data availability and new processing methods can identify ways to improve transit service.