Accelerating Innovation Mobility (AIM) Demonstration Program
In late 2020, RTD was awarded $687,000 in funding by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) from its Accelerating Innovation Mobility Demonstration Program. RTD and its partners will provide $336,000 in local match for this project, bringing the total project budget to just over $1 million. The AIM program supports projects that can accelerate the development, implementation and adoption of innovative technologies, practices, and service models to improve mobility and enhance the rider experience, with a focus on innovative service delivery models, creative financing, novel partnerships, and integrated payment solutions. RTD was one of only 25 recipients of this funding nationwide.
Public transit riders across the country are keen users of mobile apps with intuitive interfaces and seamless integrations. As the mobility landscape continues to change, the onus is now on public agencies to offer tools to improve rider experience that are polished and powerful.
RTD’s integrated fare payment project solves this by offering one transaction flow for purchasing tickets for multiple agencies and modes. Riders will enter a destination, compare their transit options, elect to ride RTD and Bustang as segments of their trip, and buy a fare from each agency in one flow. In addition to being easier, this removes the necessity and risk of entering payment details into multiple apps. Once the flow is complete, the fares will be accessible in the Transit app for activation and validation.
RTD hopes that this project will advance trip planning and fare payment nationwide. The model being used is replicable with startup costs that are quite low, providing the opportunity for a faster rollout than some other industry innovations. The agency plans to work with FTA through the AIM program to disseminate best practices and lessons learned to other transit agencies, to help continue the push for more advanced fare payment platforms.
RTD is the primary public transportation provider in the Denver region. The agency operates bus and rail services and provided over 100 million rides in 2019. RTD will lead the implementation of this project and coordinate with other key partners to achieve the project’s goals.
The Colorado Department of Transportation provides intercity bus service throughout the State of Colorado. These services, known as Bustang and Outrider, connect residents to other cities along the Front Range and throughout rural Colorado.
Transit is a private provider of industry leading trip planning software for the iOS and Android mobile operating systems. The team at Transit will be responsible for integrating Bustang and Outrider services into their trip planning software as well as designing and implement a single transaction experience for customers.
Masabi is a private provider of industry leading ticketing software to transit agencies. Masabi’s Justride ticketing platform will power the integrated payments, ticket provisioning, and fare settlement and tracking aspects of the project.
Via is a mobility technology company that offers a suite of tools and services including the Link on Demand mobile application that powers Lone Tree’s on-demand transit.
Denver South Transportation Management Association, funders of the Lone Tree Link on Demand micotransit service, are providing a cash contribution to the project to better connect their constituents with RTD light rail services, Bustang, and beyond. Their existing partnership with Via will help ensure the integration is completed smoothly.
RTD intends to begin work on this project midway through 2021. The first 12 months of the project will consist of software development, beta testing, and other pre-launch activities. RTD hopes to roll out the features to the general public during the summer of 2022. Working with FTA, there will be a 2 year demonstration period, after which the project will be evaluated to determine its success and where improvements could be made.