Just because you can devise a solution doesn’t mean it’s the right one
Last year, news surfaced that China tested a bus that straddled the highway, enabling it to glide over the traffic below.
Though at first glance the notion of a bus straddling traffic sounds like a bit of a gimmick, the concept garnered a number of headlines. In an era of increasing traffic on roads everywhere, some heralded it as a bold solution to quickly move people through gridlocked areas.
The bus, it appears, was not a success, and according to one report, the vehicle has already been abandoned. But, it shows the need to continue exploring innovative solutions to the transportation problems we face today.
But, it’s not just about coming up with extreme ideas for existing challenges. It’s about coming up with solutions that address today’s real operational challenges.
As American Public Transportation Association (APTA) acting president and CEO Richard White noted last year, “As public transportation has experienced tremendous growth over the last two decades, public transit systems are struggling to maintain aging and outdated infrastructure while at the same time being challenged to expand capacity.”
That means systems need to be smarter about the solutions they employ. Systems need to know who is on their buses, what they think about the service and whether their employees are effective.
To understand whether a solution will be effective, when we make recommendations to customers we ask several questions:
- What is the business objective? Are they clearly defined?
- How will the solution improve operations?
- How will it improve the passenger experience?
As examples of our approach, Passio Technologies has worked with a pair of universities that are using technology to improve their service.
In Georgia, Georgia Southern University launched a solution to help maximize resources and allow administrators to easily prove the value of their service. The result is an operation that is complemented equally by school administrators and students.
Meanwhile, in Texas, Texas A&M University launched a platform to collect information and connect with students. Administrators now have a better understanding of how the school’s on-campus transit system is performing and know in real-time about opportunities for improvement.
There are often practical solutions to complex problems. Anyone can brainstorm extreme or even outlandish ideas, but the trick is to devise and implement a concept that meets a situational challenge and brings the desired change that equally benefits the operator and the passenger.
And, keep in mind, just because you can devise a solution doesn’t mean it’s the right one.