Your Phone is Your Ticket – Mobile Innovation at the MBTA

Wednesday, October 10th - 4:30-6:00p
@ Harvard Kennedy School, Taubman 401, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge [map]

Session #4 of Planes, Trains and Automobiles (and Bikes)

Josh Robin, Director of Innovation at the MBTA

The MBTA faces significant long-term financial challenges and continuing demand for customer improvements. At the same time, the T has seen record ridership growth. The T has turned to the use of new technologies, allowing it to do more with less, to meet these challenges.
In this talk, Josh Robin discusses two recent MBTA initiatives that have improved the customer experience at a low cost. In its open data initiative, the MBTA released trip planning and real-time service information to software developers, spurring the creation of dozens of applications to answer the question, “Where is the T?”

With its mobile ticketing effort set to launch publicly later this year, the MBTA is working to allow customers to purchase and use commuter rail tickets via their mobile phones. Through this new approach, the MBTA is allowing customers to use their phone as a ticket office – all at a fraction of the cost of installing new vending machines and other infrastructure. These two projects represent the new approach the MBTA has taken in allowing customers to, “bring their own” infrastructure as opposed to the agency installing costly and complex infrastructure of their own.

Josh Robin is the Director of Innovation at the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) and Policy Aide for the Executive Office of Transportation. In these roles, he leads the MassDOT’s award-winning Developers Initiative and other initiatives focused on getting drivers and riders timely and accurate information about the transportation system. This initiative has made Massachusetts a national leader in the Government 2.0 movement and improved the quality of life of thousands of Massachusetts residents and visitors. Josh is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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