Talking Data and Transit at OpenAccessPhilly - Generocity Philly


Jun. 15, 2015 3:48 pm

Talking Data and Transit at OpenAccessPhilly

SEPTAkey, Navy Yard Ferry, and Apps for Philly Transit highlighted on June 12

The OSIsoft offices at 1700 Market was abuzz with Open Access Philly talks last Friday, June 12. OpenAccessPhilly, the monthly convening for all things civic, tech, and collaboration, hosted a transit-themed meeting, featuring local leaders in Philly transit and tech.


David Doll of OSIsoft opened up this month’s convening with a discussion about facilities and energy management. Working with huge organizations like Carnegie Mellon and Accenture, OSIsoft allows its clients to access a tremendous amount of knowledge, in some cases using 20+ years of data to analyze and optimize operations with up to 30 percent savings in a matter of weeks.

The big question when playing with data? Security. Doll said that people are only beginning to understand how important security is, particularly when dealing with facilities management. However, using historical data to analyze and forecast the future can unlock huge savings.


Why isn’t SEPTAkey (the transportation authority’s new electronic fare system) up and running yet?

Mark Zaleski, digital services architect for the City, walked the attendees through the complex system of checks and tests that are needed to turn the system into a reality. 252 full-service fare vending machines, 82 limited vending machines, 592 station/platform validators for regional rail, 412 turnstiles, 1,915 on-board processors, 118 ADA turnstiles, and more need to be updated in order to create a fully functional system. There are more than 3,630 pieces of equipment that will play a part in the fare system, not counting the wiring and servers.

“That’s a lot of combinations of tests,” Zaleski said. “I would think you all, as riders, would prefer to wait and know that the system is secure so that the system is not compromised.”

The good news is that new credit card standard laws will make this system work with RFID chips in our credit cards, increasing ease of use, and also with SEPTA cards that can be used at other locations, such as Starbucks.

Navy Yard Ferry Project

Next up, The Navy Yard Ferry Project’s Steven Rubin, who advocated for a permanent ferry service between Philadelphia and New Jersey.

“With enhanced connections to stadiums and the possibility of increased land-side connections along the Delaware River and to Center City, it is very likely that a ferry service could become a strong option for residents of Gloucester County.”

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According to the DVRPC’s “Gloucester County Ferry Study”, a ferry might be viable, but it should have transit connections outside of The Navy Yard.

With the development of The Navy Yard area, a wide range of users, including Navy Yard Employees and Center City Commuters, could utilize this ferry. The ferry would be created with three main success factors in mind:

  1. No tax dollars – The Navy Yard Ferry Project is looking toward a solution with no public subsidies
  2. More than just a ferry – Creating not just a ferry system, but a complete commuter experience that would serve the commuters, similar to NY Waterway’s amenities
  3. Low start up costs and agile operations – initial research is being conducted, with exploratory discussions with PIDC, DVRPC, the Gloucester County Planning Department and more.

Apps for Philly: Transportation

Mjumbe Poe of the local Code for Philly brigade also gave a few highlights from the recent Apps for Philly Transportation hackathon. The hackathon kicked off at the Porch and was a weekend-long event, including representatives from SEPTA, Bureau of Administrative Adjudication, DVRPC, and other tech community leaders.

Open Data Node

Surprise guest Jan Gondol from Slovakia also popped in for a short talk about OpenDataNode, which is a platform to support the process of open data publication and exchange. A combination of the best tools to integrate open data, Gondal invited guests to learn more about the program, and participate in the pilot which will be running for the next two months.

Click here for the Storify recap


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