We know the COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot—and transit is certainly at the top of the list. Monthly transit ridership hit a low of 156.6 million rides in April 2020, which is 81.3% lower than the 835.2 million rides taken in April 2019. While transit usage has risen since that time, ridership is still down compared to previous years. But if we implement safeguards and contactless technology can transit make a strong comeback?

The global smart-ticketing market size is projected to grow from $7.2 billion in 2020 to $16.2 billion by 2026, which is a growth rate of 14.5%. This is due to advanced technologies in the smart-ticketing systems, the growth in the intelligent transportation market, and the rise of contactless payments, among others. Case in point: Monroe Transit is leveraging a contactless fare collection system and could serve as an example for other cities.

I would also make the case that in addition to the growth of contactless payments, we will also see a surge of sustainable transit solutions. In fact, we are already beginning to witness the push to zero emission in our cities.

Let me give you a few examples. Global Electric Transport Worldwide is providing zero emission mobility solutions for cities with new zero-emission mini-buses, which were deployed in the cities of Manila and Davao, Philippines, at the end of last year. This company’s focus is to expand in the Philippines, Malaysia, other parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America within the year. It suggests emerging countries have the best low cost, low risk, yet high impact solution to help “bring back their blue skies while solving their traffic woes.”

I would suggest there is an opportunity to do this globally. Here in the states, President Biden and his Administration have supported the idea of converting U.S. transit systems buses and school buses to battery-electric zero-emission systems.

Unfortunately, federal regulations could disrupt the President’s efforts, according to BYD (Build Your Dreams), an electric vehicle company. A provision in law enacted by Congress in 2019 that was intended to target anti-competitive practices in the freight railcar manufacturing industry will disrupt the President’s emission goals to replace 50,000 heavy-duty diesel transit buses nationwide, according to BYD. It suggests with this provision, communities and transit agencies across America will not be able to procure the battery-electric buses they seek.

Certainly, our transit systems will need to change, as we move to the next era of cities. Technology will certainly be central to these efforts. What would you add?

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