The group's immediate goals are to focus on strengthening its size and scope, and make the most of social networking tools to encourage collaboration and communication among its members. For 2011, Vasilj says, "We'll be looking at specific issues that effect [transit] properties and dig deeper into those challenges to see what solutions we can come up with globally that can help state transit operations. We're looking for global solutions to solve globalized problems. It is invaluable to be able to call peers at any given time to get their opinion on something like systems oriented architecture or enterprise architecture, for example," says Vasilj.
The Chicago Transit Authority also has its own set of agency-specific goals that it hopes to meet as a member of the Consortium, says Vasilj. The agency operates 144 rail stations, has close to 2,000 buses on the street and more than 1,000 rail cars serving 1.7 million rides per day. CTA covers the city itself as well as more than 40 of the Chicago's surrounding "collar counties," says Vasilj.
He adds that CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez sees the value of IT innovation. "Our IT shop reports directly to the [agency] president," notes Vasilj. Key issues for the agency are:
In addition, Vasilj notes, there are all the usual issues facing any enterprise, such as deailing with day-to-day E-mail problems, BlackBerry Enterprise Server changes, managing seats, and dealing with all the problems inherent in managing an aging IT infrastructure during an era of budgetary constraints. "We are hoping to look at industry best practices from an existing solutions delivery or existing theory basis," says Vasilj. "For CTA to go to our peers on both bus and rail, we can generate huge value from looking at initiatives [at other agencies] that have been successful."