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Perspective

Should Transit Agencies Panic?

Many predict that new technology will doom public transportation. They’re wrong.  
Don't worry—it's fixable.
Don't worry—it's fixable. Louis Lanzano/AP

A transit professional can’t open a browser these days without encountering prophets of doom. “New technology is changing everything,” we’re told. “Everything you do is obsolete!” “You represent tired, old thinking.” “You are going to be left behind.” We are bombarded by messages that transit as we know it will soon be swept away by various kinds of mobility “innovation.” Often this is coupled with the notion that the private sector will now break “transit monopolies.”

For a sample of this popular genre, here’s Paul Comfort, a former CEO of Baltimore’s transit agency, in the newsletter of the American Public Transportation Association. The piece is called “Left Behind: The Wave of Disruptive Technology.”