This year’s APTAtech conference will be APTA’s first in person conference since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This conference will be in Philadelphia, PA, October 4-6.

The conference registration will open this summer and we encourage you to join the hundreds who are already planning to attend this premier event for industry professionals which will help them learn best practices needed to enhance their transit agencies and organizations.

Guidelines for Abstracts

Below are a few guidelines that will help you with your submission. You will find more details at the below abstract link.

  • Abstract submitters must belong to an APTA member organization.
  • All abstracts must be submitted online through the APTA website.
  • Abstracts must be 350 words or less (about a half page in length).
  • Although we suggest that you submit based on the topics identified, we also encourage submission of abstracts on topics that are not listed. If you have a topic that does not fall within one of the suggested sessions, please select “other” when submitting your abstract.

Planning Schedule

  • Abstracts due to APTA – Friday, June 4, 2021
  • Conference Registration Opens – this summer
  • Decision notifications – June 2021

Please review the educational topic areas prior to submitting your abstract.

Submit Your Abstract

EDUCATIONAL TOPIC AREAS

1. Bending the Ridership Curve
As we begin to see glimpses of a new normal post-COVID, what is your agency doing to encourage riders to return? Tell us about how your ridership is faring and what you are doing to convince riders to return to your system.

2. Best Practices in Revenue Management and Audits
We want to hear about best practices related to internal and external audits. Let’s share knowledge and learn from each other.

3. Cloud Infrastructure and Applications in Transit
What is the role of today’s enterprise public and private cloud markets in Transit? How do cloud platforms have adequate solutions for security, access, and storage? Come and see examples of cloud-based transit technologies using AWS, Azure, Google cloud and other private cloud deployments.

4. Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technologies
Connected and autonomous vehicle technologies have been testing over the past decade and have experienced significant maturity to date.  Components such as sensors, LiDAR, Laser, Camera, ADAS, and automated bus lane enforcement are all important parts of CAV technologies, not to mention mapping, AI and machine learning.  We welcome hearing about AV technology development and the status of applications to date.

5. Creative Networking Solutions
Ground-breaking networking solutions that allow the addition of services to be offered to customers in a secure way, ease of system management, standardized device configurations, and assist in the maintenance of the underlying system that interconnects all things transit. And since many of transit’s most costly and complex assets are the vehicles, how do transit operations bridge that gap: third-party wireless, or in-house and/or shared agency wireless systems?

6. Crisis, Disaster Recovery and Emergency Management Issues
Transit agencies are often in the challenging position of needing to be prepared for the unexpected. How does technology aid transit and public sector agencies in preparing for and mitigating natural disasters? What new technologies facilitate transit systems in their emergency management and crisis response?

7. Cybersecurity
Increased cyber vulnerability for public transit agencies means a new emphasis on not only the applications and technologies put in place, but also a culture of cybersecurity throughout all parts of the agency. Tell us about the challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned in the ever-evolving cyber landscape, especially that wireless link between mobile assets and the fixed infrastructure. Third-party wireless systems like commercial cellular have the potential to open new threat vectors, while owned infrastructure requires regular and dedicated effort to maintain cybersecurity.

8. Emerging and Innovative Technology
There is a great deal of innovative new technology being deployed within the transit industry including new applications, gamification, advanced wayfinding, Mobility as a Service, multi-modal applications, etc. Discuss new technologies being used to support innovative mobility solution alternatives, including new technologies for operations, customer information, ride sharing, cost/contract tracing, first and last mile services, round trip planning and other functions related to new mobility solutions.

9. Fare Risk/Combatting Fare Evasion
Fare evasion, security challenges with use of third-party media, concerns over smart card cloning/fraud, physical security of media and cash, and proof of payment are all issues that arise in the realm of fare enforcement for transit agencies. These issues are even more complicated with the proliferation of mobile ticketing, and other new fare technologies and media.

10. Fare System Challenges
New challenges continually arise in the realm of revenue collection. Tell us about some of the recent challenges that your agency has experienced, and how you went about solving those challenges.

11. IoT, Machine Learning, AI, Data Analytics, Data Management and Data Infrastructure
How are you deploying these advanced technologies to the benefit of your agencies? We’re looking for lessons learned and success stories about how this technology can be deployed at agencies of all sizes.

12. Lessons Learned Regarding Fare Collection in the COVID Era 
Over the last year, the public health crisis upended the transit industry and changed the ways in which revenue collection was approached. Many agencies implemented free fares, some instituted rider incentive programs, some transitioned to contactless fare payment, and some made very few changes altogether. Tell us about the good and bad aspects of your experiences, and what you will carry forward to the post-COVID world.

13. Mobile Ticketing/Mobile Payments
As more systems embrace mobile ticketing and payment technology, we want to hear about the challenges and opportunities this has afforded your transit agency. This might include integration and security issues, new customer service needs, and access to new rider populations.

14. Mobility, Equity and Accessibility
How do you embrace all of the new technology in the transit industry, while ensuring you’re prioritizing accessibility and equity for all? Tell us about how you managed to keep accessibility and equity at the forefront.

15. New Fare Payment Technology
What are the new technologies in fare collection and payment? How do new technologies impact a both the internal and public facing operations of an agency? This can include public education related to new technology, impact of new technology on riders, and related reporting and analytics.

16. New Fare System Implementations
How do new systems interface with existing back-office systems such as finance CAD/AVL, payroll, scheduling, etc.? How do you continue to plan for the future and steer clear of technology obsolescence?

17. Open and Contactless Fare Payment
With many agencies moving toward or implementing open and contactless fare payment systems, there are many challenges and opportunities to learn about. Discuss your experience adopting an open or contactless fare payment system.

18. Partnering with Others to Deliver Fare Collection Systems
How do multiple agencies or organizations work together to provide an integrated transit or fare solution? This can include the development of new partnership agreements, communication to the public, and ensuring no populations in the community are left out.

19. Real-time Onboard Technologies & Fleet Data
What are the latest and innovative real-time onboard technologies? How are fleet data and real-time technologies on the bus or rail taking agencies to the next level of success?

20. Renew or Replace
What are the pros and cons of upgrading an aging system vs. purchasing a new one? What are some strategies for how systems can be refreshed without a complete replacement? Finally, what are some ideas for creative life extending approaches, alternative investment or funding strategies?

21. Safety & Security Technologies
Transit grapples with a number of critical issues in an environment with expanding risks. What are best practices addressing safety and security as key operating objectives of all transit providers? What is new and most effective and how can we improve as an industry in the safety and security realms? What are the challenges and opportunities to bring real-time passenger safety and security monitoring to the operations center?

22. Small Agency Opportunities and Challenges
The revenue collection challenges that small agencies experience can vary significantly from those that new agencies experience. Tell us, as a small agency, what types of challenges and opportunities you’ve seen over the last year.

23. Standardized Onboard Interfaces for Transit Technologies
How do we get to a unified connection of onboard technologies?  Consolidated interface requirements could greatly reduce the cost of maintenance, operations, and training while providing improved reliability and understanding of the vehicles and all that is going on onboard.  Resulting in an overall more consistent customer experience. How is the wireless gap between the on-board and the wayside/ops center to be managed? Is there a standard for robust wireless connectivity?

24. Technology Procurement
As technology continues to permeate the mobility ecosystem, questions arise about how to effectively procure the correct technology and how to adapt your procurement processes to accommodate these new needs. Share your lessons learned related to this new and ever-changing procurement arena.

25. Tourism, Recovery and the New Normal
As travel picks back up, agencies are working toward offering various methods of payment to tourists this year. Now that tourism will slowly be returning, what approaches are being taken to facilitate these individuals to use transit and create a frictionless travel experience?

26. Training/Workforce
Technology has changed so much about transit, including the talent and workforce needs. What are the new skillsets and technology expertise that the 21st century transit workforce requires? Additionally, how has technology revolutionized the way we train the existing workforce and address succession planning?

27. Transit & Paratransit ITS Applications
What can technology do to ease the burden of managing and operating paratransit systems? A number of well-developed ITS technologies have direct application but there is more to be done to make it all work together. What is out there and what is on the horizon?

28. Unbanked/underbanked Populations
There are many ongoing discussions about continuing to prioritize and serve unbanked and underbanked populations—those most dependent on transit. What methods have agencies used to reach out to these individuals and facilitate their participation in new fare collection systems?

29. Yard Management
Discuss technologies that provide asset tracking while minimizing safety risks and improving overall operational efficiency.

30. Zero Emission Bus Technologies & Tools
What are the best practices and latest experiences in the industry for ZEB technologies to manage and plan for operations, evaluate service performance, etc.?

31. Other
Submit something we have not thought of. All ideas are welcome.

Submit Your Abstract
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