VTA opens center to spark transit innovation

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has opened an innovation center to develop, test and show off transportation innovations.

The center opened last Wednesday at VTA’s River Oaks headquarters on North First Street in San Jose. Officials with the agency are looking for ways to improve the experience of transit customers, improve transportation choices and optimize transit vehicles, roads and infrastructure.

To understand the technology that could help make transit more appealing, VTA board member and San Jose Vice Mayor Rose Herrera said in a statement:

“We need to put ourselves in the positions of customers.”

VTA general manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez said in a statement:

“We need to figure out how we’re going to maximize the use of our transportation network.”

Fernandez said the innovation center will bring Silicon Valley-type ideas and apply them to VTA transit operations.

Among the projects being worked on at the center, which brings together VTA teams, companies, startups and students, is an open-source trip planner for any combination of transit, walking, biking, park-and-ride, bike share and driving options, according to the transit agency.