Transit CIOs Join Together

CIOs representing more than 30 transit authorities — from Amtrak to metropolitan agencies in Chicago, Dallas, New York City and San Francisco — are joining together to form the nationwide Transit CIO Consortium. The Consortium will provide a forum for transit CIOs to share technology and program information with each other on a broad range of technology subjects.Specific collaborations are expected on technology topics such as asset management systems, cloud computing, customer communications, closed circuit TV security and video management (CCTV), data security, enterprise architecture (EA), enterprise resource planning (ERP), IT centralization and consolidation, IT governance, PCI compliance, portfolio management, Smartcards and fare collection.

The organization’s leadership is comprised of 12 founding board members and four elected founding officers from the four quadrants of the country, including First VP John Vasilj, CIO of Chicago’s CTA; Second VP Allan Steele, CIO of Dallas’ DART; and Secretary Ravi Misra, Department Manager, IT of San Francisco’s BART.

CTA’s Vasilj tells CIO Insight that several members of the consortium had been informally collaborating, sharing information, and talking about their mutual challenges.  "As you can imagine with larger transit organizations that do bus and rail, we’re sharing many of the same budget challenges and technological challenges," says Vasilj. These informal discussions helped the CIOs discover what new and innovative ways are out there to deal with some of their problems.

"A couple of months back, we realized it might be useful to formalize this information-sharing arrangement to allow us to continue to speak to each other as well as to a broader transit and IT community," says Vasilj. In addition, the organization will focus on providing information to policy-makers on the local, state and federal levels as they vote on issues such as transit improvements, budget, security and law enforcement.

"The group is operating as an unfunded mandate," explains Vasilj, which basically means that each participating agency is using whatever internal resources it deems appropriate to accomplish consortium goals. "It will take time to figure out what kind of funding levels, if any, will be needed to formalize the consortium," says Vasilj.

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