The Journey to Making Transportation Available to Everyone
When I think of an ideal future for transit, I envision a system that can and will be universally utilized by most, if not everyone, in society. When I look at transit now, I see the building blocks for that future. Because of this vision, I ensure the work I do at Cubic Transportation Systems improves the transit experience for all passengers, no matter where they come from or where they might be going.
This is the overarching goal I have for myself in my position at Cubic: to deliver transportation options in as many places as possible and allow people to get to where they need to go efficiently and without undue stress. I approach my work with the idea that transportation should be accessible and equitable for all, and I focus my efforts on helping Cubic deliver solutions to achieve this.
Based in Washington, DC, I am a non-driver and an avid transit rider. While I’m passionate about public transit being a critical resource for connecting communities to opportunity, I recognize that being a non-driver isn’t always a viable option based on where people live. Part of my work at Cubic revolves around advocating for change to make public transportation an easier option for users by providing fair pricing and incentives like rewards that encourage transit ridership and enhance the traveling experience..
I’m also excited to bring accessibility and equity to the forefront of the transit discussion as part of Cubic’s partnership with McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. The McMaster partnership seeks to train a new generation of mobility leaders while pushing the boundaries of transportation technology. One of its core tenets is ensuring that accessibility and equity are at the center of all initiatives from the get-go. This includes incorporating research from McMaster as to how mobility and accessibility impact low-income communities and older groups of people. Recently, I spoke at a panel titled “Is Mobility a Human Right?” with other members of the McMaster and Cubic team.
Aside from my work with McMaster University, I’m also a thought leader on digital mobility. Digital mobility is the digitalization and integration of multi modal mobility management and operations systems to achieve policy goals and optimize networks for smoother, faster, and more sustainable transport. It is important to coordinate all aspects of the mobility system to rebalance supply and demand. This digital approach ensures users can access the mobility system easily and that there is active management to seamlessly execute those trips. I moderated a panel at ITS America 2021 and led another panel at the recent ITS Europe conference in May. I also represent Cubic in a variety of organizations, including the Mobility Management Committee, APTA; Ticketing in MaaS working group, UITP; MOD Alliance Policy Working Group; and MobiDataLab Reference Group.
Another big part of my job at Cubic is helping to spread transportation technology through global partnerships. Currently, I’m creating a structure to partner with like-minded organizations globally to bring mobility technology, contactless payments, and trip-planning services to all. This initiative started in the Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions, and my team and I plan to expand it globally. I’m passionate about bringing equitable technology to parts of the world that lack access to it.
In the past year, I was instrumental in developing Cubic’s internal process for requesting federal grants. With new infrastructure funding coming from Washington, Cubic is committed to ensuring that agencies of all sizes are able to access grant opportunities. I recently participated in a webinar discussing how to break down IIJA and outlining how Cubic helps individual cities invest in innovation through this new law. My grants work has taken me all over the country, including an education session for traffic engineers in Alabama on how to apply for federal grants.
These efforts have come full circle for me as I am committed to spreading technologies that can help users better leverage mobility networks and making transport more accessible and equitable, including through technologies like mobile apps, fare capping, and other fair fares policies.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel to many different places, and I want my work to provide similar opportunities for other travelers as well. No matter where you begin your journey, I want there to be an accessible transit route available for you. For those routes that have yet to be fully realized, I’ve made it my mission to work and innovate to ensure that one day, they will be.
Audrey Denis is strategy manager for Cubic Transportation Systems, a leading integrator of payment and information solutions and related services for intelligent travel applications in the transportation industry. As a partner of the Eno Center for Transportation, Cubic seeks to further the continuous improvement in transportation and share knowledge on emerging mobility trends and initiatives in mobility.