Managing a transit agency is a complicated process with an overwhelming number of moving parts. Technology is constantly changing, which makes it even harder to keep everything running smoothly. Given the constraints of limited staff and budget, it can be difficult for an agency to keep up with best practices.
While the industry can feel fractured, all transit agencies have the same goal: to provide safe, reliable, cost-effective service to Californians. Rather than waste time and money constantly reinventing the wheel, California transit agencies should work together. The 2012 California Statewide Transit Strategic Plan identified the sharing of expertise across California as one of the best ways for agencies to improve their operations.
That’s where TransitWiki comes in. Made by and for transit professionals, TransitWiki is an open resource that was created by the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies with funding from the Caltrans Division of Rail and Mass Transportation as a mechanism for this knowledge sharing. Agencies can use the site to easily identify best practices without engaging in time-consuming research or risky pilot projects.
What information can I find on TransitWiki?
TransitWiki is a repository for a wide variety of information relating to operating transit in California. This includes summaries of reports from industry-leading organizations like the Transit Cooperative Research Board and the American Public Transportation Association, as well as from transit agencies across the state. The site also has general guides on topics such as cybersecurity and bicycle parking at transit stations. And since keeping up with technology is such a resource-intensive task, TransitWiki catalogs cutting-edge tools that can make agencies work better.
How can I use TransitWiki?
One of the best ways to use TransitWiki is to onboard new employees and interns, getting them up to speed on the state of transit in California. Because it contains recent research, TransitWiki is also a powerful professional development tool for existing staff - especially useful in an age of shrinking conference budgets. In cases where an agency is doing its own research, TransitWiki jumpstarts the process, providing quick access to baseline information so that staff don’t have to waste valuable time duplicating research that has already been conducted.
Where does the information come from?
Much of the content on TransitWiki is created by researchers at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, who comb through academic reports to find the most valuable information for transit operators. But other information comes from agencies and firms across the state. While academic research is important, many of the most important developments in the industry are coming from agencies themselves. A report assembled by SFMTA might contain information useful to LA Metro - learning from peer agencies means wasting fewer resources on dead-end projects. Transit stakeholders can contribute the site following our guidelines.
How do I contribute to TransitWiki?
TransitWiki is a public, user-editable website, allowing agencies to directly publish reports that they believe could be useful to others. This site is based on the MediaWiki software that powers Wikipedia and many other sites across the web. If you're familiar with how to navigate or edit Wikipedia, then TransitWiki.org should be straight forward. If not, see the MediaWiki FAQ. Once you make an account, our staff will confirm it and you can start adding articles using an intuitive web interface. You can post an entire report or pull out specific sections that you think are the most relevant to other agencies.
Transit agencies can be competitive, and in-house reports might feel like secrets that need to be guarded. But the kind of research relevant to TransitWiki is typically covered by open records laws and is already internet-accessible. By proactively sharing documents on TransitWiki, agencies can take control of the messaging and make sure they are presented properly.
Information on TransitWiki.org is made available under the Creative Commons Share-Alike 3.0 Unported License. This allows any individual, organization, or business to use, quote, or edit information from the site, provided that they attribute the information and share it under the same or similar terms. Content linked on external sites is not subject to this license.
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Funding: was provided by the California Department of Transportation's Division of Mass Transportation. Initial funding provided by Contract #64A0228 - research to support the Statewide Transit Strategic Plan. Supsequent contracts funded the project through 2021 and the site remains available for all to use and update. Thank you to Caltrans partners on this project - the California Transit Association and the California Association for Commuter Transportation.
Authors: Several students and graduates of the UCLA Master's in Urban and Regional Planning program contributed to TransitWiki:
- Rabi Abonour
- Shira Bergstein
- Julia Campbell
- Marc Caswell
- Ben Kaufman
- Alek Miller
- David Myung
- Carter Rubin
- Doreen Zhao
- Jeremiah LaRose
Administration: Juan Matute administers and maintains the technical elements and content of TransitWiki. He works under the direction of Dr. Brian Taylor and Dr. Allison Yoh, who supervise the project.