Microsoft helping Miami-Dade County achieve mobility for one, mobility for all
By Jeff Friedman, Director of Modern Government, Microsoft Corporation on December 13, 2016
Filed under Microsoft CityNext
A recent Miami.com headline said it all: “Public transportation in Miami is making moves.” The nation’s 7th most congested city is showing leadership by reshaping its public transit landscape and tackling transportation issues on multiple fronts—and Microsoft is proud to play a part.
My colleague Scott Mauvais, director of Technology & Civic Innovation, is representing Microsoft and our CityNext initiative on a new type of public-private partnership to address transportation, one of the most pressing issues facing all U.S. cities. Through Microsoft’s sponsorship of the City Innovate Foundation, we are joining with our partner Cubic Transportation Systems, Lyft, Zipcar and others to help advance solutions for our government customers, starting with Miami-Dade. “Studies have shown that more efficient public transit has direct, tangible effects on improving the lives of families and individuals across the country,” said Gert Christen, chief operating officer of the City Innovate Foundation.
According to Scott, the first piece of the City Innovate project is an “Urban Mobility Collider,” a 12-week effort to assess the back-end technology integration of Miami-Dade Transit’s fare system. With an integrated fare system more than a decade old and a transit system serving numerous Florida cities, the timing is right for this regional project that could serve as a model for other U.S. cities. “The integration is on the back end to book, route and pay for transit across multiple modes,” Scott explained, referring to bus, train, bike-share and even ride-share options like Uber and Lyft. That integrated system will enable Miami-Dade to offer multiple payment methods and personalization for transit riders, representing a shift from a physical transit-card approach to an account-based system that lives in the cloud and registers payments on all forms of public and private transportation. “They want to make better use of data and they want a more inclusive system that helps more people, especially the disadvantaged,” Scott added.
The effort also focuses on introducing new services, such as piloting autonomous, electric and connected vehicles, and other initiatives. “The private sector is telling us that we are only three short years away from autonomous vehicles and we want to prepare ourselves for this technology,” said Carlos Cruz-Casas, assistant director for Miami-Dade County’s Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW). “City Innovate Foundation’s Collider Methodology is a perfect vehicle to learn, test and collaborate with the private sector to develop the playbook of how to put Miami-Dade County at the forefront of transportation innovation and to share this with many cities for their benefit, too.”
Last August, DTPW awarded Cubic a $33 million contract to modernize the Cubic-supplied EASY Card revenue management system, which will run on our trusted Microsoft Azure platform. It represents a hybrid system similar to those in Chicago and London, the world’s two largest open and account-based payment transit systems—also developed by Cubic. “Azure’s cloud-based environment will support Cubic’s transportation management technologies in Miami, where we will deliver a range of new capabilities including the latest in state-of-the art payment, security and mobile technologies,” said Boris Karsch, vice president, strategy, for Cubic Transportation Systems. “At the same time, we will be able to continue support for the existing EASY Card system, which is essential to our customer for their riders who want to continue using it. Azure gives us that flexibility and scalability along with operational efficiencies through migrating from a client-hosted back office to the cloud.”
Scott says the Miami-Dade County vision is mobility for one, mobility for all, with an integrated transportation system that’s personalized, more efficient and less costly. Microsoft CityNext looks forward to empowering Miami-Dade County to make this vision come to life and sharing the outcome with cities throughout the country.