Public transport is often portrayed as a sector of heavy transport modes and high-end technologies, but much more importantly, public transport is a people’s industry. From front-line employees to engineers and high-level executives, our sector is driven by the passion and determination of individuals to provide the best services possible to passengers. Our new web series ‘A people’s industry’ aims at introducing the leaders that are driving public transport forward.
Our next leader to be interviewed is Marshall Moreyne, CEO, CSiT, an international provider of integrated transit IT solutions in Montreal, Canada. A proposal put forth by CSiT was recently chosen as one of the winning solutions of the MTA Genius Transit Challenge.
What is the most important change related to public transport you have witnessed since you started working in the sector?
The most important change I have seen is in how transport authorities’ top management have changed their attention from just moving people as efficiently as possible from one location to another, to now looking at the complete end-to-end journey and customer experience. I believe that this new vision will benefit public transport usage tremendously.
What is the leading force of innovation in your organisation?
The leading force of innovation at CSiT is our constant focus to understand and develop modern technology and systems which improve the capabilities of transit operators to provide relevant and real-time information to their customers as well as improve the operational efficiency of their train fleets. This has been a founding principle of the company since its inception.
What would be the most important challenge facing the industry in the years to come?
I believe that the most important challenge facing the industry in the years to come will be the ability for transit authorities to cost-effectively respond to the increasing churn rate of new technologies. New trains at the time of delivery actually have technologies which are already at least two to three years old and becoming, if not already, obsolete. Combining this with the ability to now efficiently instrument and collect massive amounts of data onboard trains, allowing predictive AI (artifical intelligence) systems to provide actionable intelligence across the train fleets, will demand new and faster ways to be able to procure and implement these technologies. Today most contract procurement rules tend to inhibit or delay innovation. This will have to change to address this problem and we are seeing this already starting to happen; the Genius Transit Challenge launched by the MTA in New York City took a more evolved approach to procurement by soliciting in a contest the best ideas to get leap changes that could be implemented cost-effectively in the near term.
What would you tell world leaders to encourage them in developing more public transport?
If we as a society invest in efficient public transport systems that are easy to use and that provide real-time reliable information which facilitates the customers end-to-end journey, people will use these systems and this will result in a cleaner, less stressful, and more attractive environment for everyone to live in.
If you had one advice to give to someone entering the sector, what would it be?
Public transport will continue to evolve over the coming years with new types of services being offered, adding to the choices people have when deciding to travel. If you want to really contribute to making your customers value and choose your service then concentrate on making it reliable, informative, time and cost efficient, and improve the whole experience for them. People today are informed, mobile and expect this kind of service. Do that and they will come, and for those working in this sector it will be rewarding and enjoyable.
What are you most proud of since working in public transport?
I have been responsible for bringing innovative customer focused communication systems to this industry for 30 years and am proud that I have been able to contribute to the transformation of the vision from just moving as many people as possible in public transit, to improving the whole customer end-to-end journey experience. In my former start-up company Telecite, we developed and implemented the first real-time on-board train media display and management system in the Montreal metro in 1992 and subsequently implemented it worldwide. Today at CSIT, we now have a new generation of ground-breaking information and communication technology called TRANSIS: a system ready the evolution towards the Smart City. I am again proud to be working with a top-notch team of people at CSIT who are passionate about how they contribute to the vision of improving customer information and operational efficiency of train fleets in public transport.
Stay tuned for our next Q&A in the 'A People's Industry' series!