Home News In the Wake of I-85 Collapse, MARTA’s Tech Steps Up

In the Wake of I-85 Collapse, MARTA’s Tech Steps Up

by Holly Beilin

For a city rated amongst the worst in the world in terms of traffic, the I-85 collapse was in many ways, a nightmare. But along with city officials and emergency responders, another public division stepped up in record time to deal with the crisis — MARTA’s IT department.

In fact, a Washington Post article suggested that D.C., widely considered a more public infrastructure-friendly city than Atlanta, could glean a lesson or two from MARTA’s response in the wake of the highway collapse. The system had to quickly prepare to absorb thousands more riders.

Immediately after the incident, MARTA’s IT team quickly tested and launched a new beta page on their site to monitor the parking lots of 10 of the busiest stations in real-time to let commuters know which lots had spaces and which were full. As of now, the site is updated manually, with reports coming in from parking lot attendants and surveillance cameras on weekdays from 6-10 a.m. in real-time. It’s being updated periodically at other times as well.

MARTA is also working with the City on a new commuter application to improve and streamline rider experience even more. Much of this work came out of the last MARTA Hackathon, a series of team events where students, developers, public officials and others take 24 hours to come up with innovative solutions to challenges faced in Atlanta’s public transit system.

While this week the system will no doubt face even more challenges as workers return from spring break, last week’s performance of on-time rides at 99.5 percent, according to MARTA spokesman Erik Burton, is something all Atlantans can be proud of.

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