Title

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER IN THE TRANSIT INDUSTRY

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2000

Subject Area

infrastructure - interchange/transfer, mode - mass transit

Keywords

Transit, Technology transfer agents, Technology transfer, Technological innovations, Public transit, Mass transit, Local transit, Intra-agency barriers, Interagency relations, Infrastructure, Advanced technology

Abstract

The unprecedented advances taking place in the technology industries (computer, electronics, telecommunications) can benefit the transit industry by enabling safer, cleaner, and more reliable transit vehicles; easier maintenance; better customer service; and faster and more efficient scheduling and operations. Without an effective technology transfer (T2) process, however, the technologies may not reach the proper audience in the transit organization, or they may fail to elicit the appropriate response from transit staff. The two key elements of successful T2 in the transit industry are discussed--effective T2 infrastructure and T2 agents. Effective T2 infrastructure consists of an organizational culture that is open and flexible, a comprehensive evaluation mechanism, an efficient transfer design, and an effective training program. T2 agents are individuals or organizations that bring new technologies and information to agencies, which then can transform the technology and information into useful products, processes, or programs. Also discussed are intra-agency and interagency barriers, such as strict adherence to rule books and bureaucratic organizational structures, and examples are provided of how some agencies are addressing these problems.