How the Department of Transportation and Public Works is using information sharing to make a better transport system
Alice Bravo Director – Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works
What are the most important milestones achieved by the Department of Transportation and Public Works in 2016?
When I started in this position, we were focused on the basics: clean, safe and reliable transportation. Along the way, we worked on the merger of the Miami-Dade Transit Department with the Public Works Department, which was formally approved in February 2016. We have been working with both sides to increase their synergies and leverage by pulling our resources together. In addition to paying more attention to cleaner trains, buses and other forms of transport, we have stepped up security by developing an app so people can report immediately if something happens to them. We will also soon launch new Metrorail cars, which use improved technology to run their systems and enhance reliability.
How has the investment in new technology helped to market transit services?
Investing in technology is one of our top priorities. Our buses have real-time tracking. We have revamped our app to make it more user-friendly and provide real-time tracking information. Recently, we debuted EASY Pay. This mobile ticketing system does two things. First, it eliminates the hurdle of dealing with a ticket vending machine. Second, it will help us provide incentives because we will be able to do cross-promotions with local businesses. With the data gathered, we know where our passengers get on and off. With this information we can, for example, offer coupons to use in the shops near the stops they use. With an account-based system, we can communicate better with our customers, enhancing information availability and thus encouraging people to increase their use of public transport. We believe that public transportation could work for a lot of people, but it has just never crossed their minds. Therefore, the first thing we need to do is to get them thinking about public transport. Second, we need to get them to use the app and trip planner to understand its ease and convenience. Lastly, we need to get people to realize that they can take Metrorail to the airport.
Which is being done to help promote awareness of the advantages of using public transportation?
We are combining better information with increased knowledge. A good example of this is the fact that we have uploaded information to our website about our corporate and student discounts. We also added other promotions, such as taking Metrorail to the airport. We know that many of our corporate clients will want to take advantage of these offers. For this, we teamed up with the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, which has been actively promoting this option.