Three ways LA Metro will transform public transportation infrastructure

By Joshua Schank, Metro Chief Innovation Officer

People tend to think of innovation as new technology that will dramatically transform our lives – but more typically, innovation is modest changes that provide things better, faster and cheaper.  And many innovations are already out there that could dramatically improve how Metro serves its customers.

Photo by Joe Linton/StreetblogLA

Photo by Joe Linton/StreetblogLA

This is why LA Metro CEO Phil Washington created the new Office of Extraordinary Innovation, which will swing open LA Metro’s doors to hear the best ideas from the private sector, general public and transportation agencies around the world.

LA Metro is in the midst of the most ambitious public transportation construction program in the nation. Our goals are to improve mobility, reduce environmental damage and enhance transportation safety. Any idea that creates those benefits for our customers will be considered, with preference for the lowest costs:

Private sector financing can help capital projects get started sooner and often at lower costs.  The Los Angeles region is on the cusp of a transportation renaissance. We are building out a vast public transit network that will serve the region for decades.

Technology to improve operations and the customer experience.  Transportation is changing rapidly. Smartphones have enabled new mobility services that are often fast and customer-friendly. Vehicles are becoming more automated and safer.

Data and information to evaluate performance and drive further advancements. LA Metro views the accessibility and ubiquity of data as a tremendous opportunity.

We are choosing to open our eyes, ears, and minds to figure out how we can incorporate these and other innovations into our business model, and serve our mission of providing better mobility for the Los Angeles region.

We believe that the Office of Extraordinary Innovation can help create an environment of innovation, openness and experimentation.  In the public sector, innovation is often more about overcoming political obstacles; we will require political will and sustained effort to successfully implement these innovations.

Categories: Transportation News