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CUTAyyt: The latest and greatest in transit technology

McCartney Lee

CUTA is proud to host events that link our members and stakeholders to industry trends, professional development and networking opportunities. This year’s spring symposium, hosted by Metrobus, took place in the beautiful city of St. John’s and focused on the theme ‘Technology in Transit’. With over 170 transit professionals in attendance, our symposium welcomed a diverse audience of conference veterans, first-time attendees and innovative thinkers from across North America.

The first day of our symposium offered delegates the opportunity to embark on a Metrobus technical tour. Our tech tours are always a highlight of CUTA events, and St. John’s was no exception. Attendees traveled to Metrobus’ 11,000 square-metre facility, which boasts various environmental features designed to reduce the transit system's carbon footprint. The fully booked tour was followed by an evening welcome reception hosted by Transit and Masabi, who presented their mobile ticketing initiative with a free trial followed by a 12-month pilot program.

  

To launch our full program on May 15, we heard from St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen who spoke about how “public transit has played an important role in the development of one of North America’s oldest cities.” Nora Young, host of CBC Radio’s Spark, followed with a keynote presentation on how advanced tech continues to shape our lives and the world we live in. Focusing on topics such as big data and social media, Young touched on the need to blend technology with public transit to boost urban mobility and achieve environmental sustainability.

“Generating real-time data about mobility will be crucial for making our urban world more sustainable” – Nora Young, CBC Radio’s Spark Host

  

You told us that you wanted more networking with colleagues, and we listened! At our accessibility, large and small-system roundtables, delegates had the opportunity to bring challenges to the table, brainstorm with like-minded professionals to find workable solutions and hear about the strategies and successes that have worked for others.

Attendees also took part in sessions about big data, technology and new mobility, smart fare systems, artificial intelligence and on-demand transit. These were complemented by our new E-bus 101 workshop, featuring strategies for electrification, fleet planning and electric vehicle (EV) maintenance. We were very grateful to have the Toronto Transit Commission, Société de transport de Montréal and the Edmonton Transit Service share their EV wisdom with us.

  

On Wednesday night, we rallied! For our business members’ evening, we were thrilled to host the George Street pub crawl for delegates. Attendees were screeched in, kissed the cod and became honorary Newfoundlanders. We had a wonderful night filled with great food, conversation and networking.

Closing remarks on Thursday featured a presentation from CUTA CEO Marco D’Angelo on demand-responsive transit as an opportunity to improve urban mobility and expand service delivery. Fixed routes, fixed prices, and fixed stops don’t work for everyone, nudging many to look for alternative modes of transportation. As our cities develop and expand, we want to experience them faster and cheaper, which makes room for innovative technology to meet consumer demand.

“Better in the transit world isn’t just about having the newest tech anymore, it’s about how that technology is used to speed up mobility and move people further, faster.” – Marco D’Angelo

We had an incredible time in St. John’s and we can hardly wait for our Annual Conference and Transit Show in Calgary!

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