The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Rail Division is testing what may be the first "transit tech" agreement for a state transportation agency.
The three-month pilot program will integrate the state’s Amtrak train stations with local public transit and Uber through an app developed by Durham-based TransLoc, according to WRALTechWire.com and RailwayAge.com.
The idea is to help North Carolina passengers conduct "door-to-door trip planning” for both train travel and Uber rides, or other transportation to the train station. The partnership, which began this week, includes nine Amtrak stations: Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury, Kannapolis and Charlotte.
NCDOT says the partnership will create a “network of interconnected public transit options.”
“By tying together services that residents use and depend on already, it's now easier than ever for North Carolinians to travel across the state without driving their cars while taking advantage of existing rail infrastructure,” said Paul Worley, rail division director at NCDOT, in an announcement about the program.
According to NCDOT, the app works as follows: “North Carolinians can simply input their preferred train station into the Rider app. The app will display a route that integrates Uber and public transit with the train schedule, providing multimodal route options from the rider’s front door to the train station platform. For example, the app might provide a synchronized route to the train that incorporates walking, taking a bus or riding in an Uber. Riders can also use the app to find transit options or an Uber at their destination. Over time, the app will learn user preferences around cost, convenience and mode of transportation to deliver a customized door-to-door plan for worry-free transit."
Worley said NCDOT’s work with local public transit systems over the past five years has already resulted in a 40 percent increase in ridership. Gainesville, Fla., has a similar program in place between TransLoc, Uber and city bus services.