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November 19, 2018

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Las Vegas Monorail

Technologies that can help change the way we travel

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Improved transportation technology aims to offer commuters better and safer options, increased convenience and a general sense of ease. In an effort to propel technological advances in the transportation field, Google recently rolled out a service geared toward public transit. Their first partnership is with Las Vegas Monorail.

“Easing the end-to-end travel experience has been a key focus for Google, and we’re excited that people using the Las Vegas Monorail can now use Google Pay to instantly buy, store and use train tickets,” said Pali Bhat, Google’s Vice President of Payments Product Management.

In addition to integrated mobile solutions, connected technologies and autonomous vehicles may also become prevalent. Here’s how Google’s new tech and future advancements can help you with your travel plans.

Google Pay for transit

Google Pay for transit is a tool for virtual transit ticketing that allows riders to quickly purchase tickets via the app, and use their phone at fare-gates for immediate access. The Monorail is the first transit system in the world to fully integrate its ticketing system with Google Pay, using MIFARE contactless technology, which allows riders to tap and go.

Rider benefits of mobile-based ticketing systems are vast, eliminating the need to carry cash and wait in line at a kiosk while juggling baggage. They also allow riders an efficient option when planning their trips in advance or while making decisions on the fly.

For transportation providers, it grants the ability to reduce fare-collection expenditures and roll out new enhancements quickly—freeing up organizational space to focus on larger concerns such as rider experience and environmental sustainability.

“Offering Google’s secure payment option and fast, simple checkout improves guests’ ease in accessing the Monorail,” said Ingrid Reisman, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Las Vegas Monorail. “Meanwhile, encouraging paperless ticketing adds to our environmentally friendly profile. Last year, our zero-emissions trains contributed to the removal of an estimated 2.2 million vehicle miles and 28.73 tons of air pollutants in the city. We’re always looking for new ways to help improve air quality and reduce environmental waste, so this partnership was a perfect fit.”

Google functionality also means it can take advantage of key features in the new Google Pay platform, with the security of safe encryption.

Google Pay for transit is available on any Android device. For iPhone users who are seeking a similarly convenient and environmentally friendly option, Scan-and-Go mobile ticketing, which can be synced to Apple Wallet, is another option available for Monorail.

Autonomous vehicles

A massive transportation shift gaining steam is the autonomous vehicle. Self-driving cars have been a hot topic for years, and they’re inching closer to reality. These cars can sense and adjust for other vehicles on the road, roadway signals and conditions, and pedestrians and cyclists.

The technology could also have a positive effect on ride-hailing and public transportation as the full functionality of autonomous vehicles for ride-hailing is realized, and as more organizations invest in self-driving buses.

Companies are testing and improving safety features before self-driving vehicles will be common on roadways.

Connected vehicle technology

An important component to autonomous transportation, connected technology optimizes vehicle operation and safety by wirelessly communicating with surrounding automobiles. It monitors the speed, positioning and lane departure of others, while also tracking dangerous road conditions.

Vehicle-to-infrastructure communication may also be an advancement of the future, adding communication points at intersections, hazardous road areas and/or road construction sites. This would provide your vehicle with advanced warning about potentially dangerous situations, sync driving speed to automated signals in an intersection, and receive real-time traffic conditions as they unfold.

Why is new transportation tech important?

Traffic congestion, population growth and environmental concerns are driving the need for new transportation technologies—particularly in urban areas such as Las Vegas. Locally, Nevada is one of the fastest-growing states in the country, and according to projections from the state demographer, Clark County will see a 1.6 percent population increase each year until 2022.

Globally, the World Health Organization reports that urban population is expected to grow at a similar rate—about 1.5 percent per year between 2025 and 2030.

Increased urbanization comes with many benefits, including economic development and better access to health and social services. However, rapid growth can also strain a city’s existing infrastructure—something that may be particularly concerning for Las Vegas, which hosts almost 42 million visitors a year. Fortunately, implementing emerging technologies can help shoulder some of that weight and contribute to the overall mobility of our growing city.