Public Transport: A Crucial Infrastructure, Not a Testing Ground

March 08, 2020

In numerous instances, public transport inadvertently becomes a launching pad or, to use a precise term, a “springboard” for innovations and fledgling technologies. One might struggle to envision such experiments in domains like nuclear industry or medicine, posing a question that often goes unspoken: Why does this phenomenon permeate transport? For neophytes or those lacking depth in the field, public transport may exude an illusion of simplicity, presenting itself as an entity that is inherently comprehensible and transparent.

However, this perception is decidedly a fallacy. Public Transport (PT) embeds itself as a vital artery in our daily lives, even in instances where we might not directly engage with it. Consider a scenario where PT becomes hamstrung due to traffic congestion or improper dispatching, leading to medical personnel being delayed for work (among other potential, cascading disruptions across various sectors).

This paints a vivid picture as to why it is imperative that PT is never undervalued or subjected to hurried integrations of unproven technologies and innovations. Frequently touted advantages or economical effects often lack substantiating evidence, reinforcing the necessity for a cautious approach that allows for gradual implementation and thorough evaluation of trial results.

At the Automated Fare Collection System Operators Association (AFCSOA), we diligently track emerging initiatives within AFC systems, offering our assessments and conducting meticulous analyses. Our objective doesn’t pivot on dictating the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in technological adoption - that remains the prerogative and responsibility of customers and suppliers.

Instead, our mission orbits around safeguarding entities from prevalent pitfalls and ensuring that public transport stakeholders – such as agencies and operators – always have the latitude to revert or pivot with minimized repercussions. It is about steering away from a perilous path where critical infrastructure like PT becomes a sandbox for untested innovations, and guiding towards a trajectory where advancements are melded thoughtfully and strategically into the transport landscape.

At AFCSOA, our relentless pursuit is to ensure that the multifaceted essence of public transport is understood, respected, and preserved amidst the currents of technological evolution, safeguarding its integrity and ensuring its role in our daily lives remains unshaken and undisrupted.