Lookman Fazal

Chief Information and Digital Officer, NJ TRANSIT

New Jersey Transit CIO Lookman Fazal
David Kidd/Government Technology
Lookman Fazal arrived at NJ TRANSIT two years ago with a plan to modernize the large and aging transit organization.

He came just in time.

“My team moved very quickly on the transformation from in-office to remote, which allowed us to maintain business continuity and productivity, while protecting administrative employees to the greatest extent possible within NJ TRANSIT,” Fazal said recently. 

“When I joined in 2019
, employees were working in a low-tech environment with out-of-date technology. If the private sector was able to convert to high-tech offices, why are we behind?” he wondered. “It wasn’t difficult to figure out what needed to be done — you just needed a plan and to implement it.”

Fazal joined the agency as chief information and digital officer. Before that, he was the CIO and CISO for ATC, a private logistics and transportation company.

NJ TRANSIT is a statewide public corporation covering some 5,325 square miles, transporting more than 900,000 riders daily in a vast fleet of buses and trains. The ethos around innovation that Fazal brought to the internal workings of the organization he also brought to the customer experience, introducing upgrades to the mobile app and its ability to send alerts and notifications to riders. Today, more riders purchase a digital train ticket than stand at vending kiosks for a paper ticket.

“If people are used to Uber-like notifications, how can we provide the same, or better, experience to our riders,” said Fazal, offering a snapshot into how he thinks about innovation

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Sacramento.