ETA Transit Systems: Versatile Intelligent Transit Systems

John Maglio, President, ETA Transit SystemsJohn Maglio, President
Founded in 2003, ETA Transit Systems is on a mission to improve the operations of public transportation agencies. The company has created an innovative and incredibly flexible real-time fleet management platform which provides computer-aided dispatch and automatic vehicle location (CAD/AVL), passenger information systems, mobile video surveillance, automatic voice annunciation systems, traveler information website and mobile apps, and rich-media transit displays.

“While previously working with a company that provided intelligent transit systems (ITS) to rail markets, we realized that with a few tweaks the system could be upgraded to provide services in other vertical markets such as public transit, private shuttles, and campus operations,” says John Maglio, President, ETA Transit Systems.

Grabbing hold of the idea, Maglio secured the investment capital to purchase the IP and begin development of ETA’s flagship product SPOT®—Spatial Positioning on Transit—an ITS platform that provides public transit riders GPS-based vehicle tracking, constant updates about arrival predictions, onboarding announcements, automatic passenger counting, and digital signage. Using SPOT®, riders can plan trips, receive automatic announcements, and review schedules and vehicle capacity while providing real-time feedback to agencies about their travel experience. SPOT® is robust, modular, scalable, and flexible and offers a set of essential features that can advance any transit agency’s operations. Its uniqueness lies in its adoption of an open architecture philosophy, which makes it easy to expand the existing systems to meet specific demands of the transit environment, and for end-users to utilize the API to develop their own solutions, add supplementary features, and integrate with third-party systems like fare collection and infotainment applications.

At a higher level, ETA provides onboard equipment that collects data and forwards it in real time to a cloud-based service. The data—which can include vehicle speed, passenger counts, or on-time performance—is used by transit agencies to realize efficiency in their operations and power mobile security systems, business intelligence, digital infotainment displays, and paratransit capabilities.

SPOT is robust, modular, scalable, and flexible and offers a set of essential features that can advance any transit agency’s operations

Commuters use this information to better plan their travel. “We collect data in real time, hold it in permanent data storage, and develop tools that utilize the data to help make transit smarter and better,” explains Maglio. “Through the use of a public-facing website or mobile app, transit riders can view schedules, see arrival predictions, be notified of service changes, plan trips, locate nearby amenities like shopping, banking, museums, and more. SPOT® is truly a complete travel companion for users of public transit.”

Every time ETA engages with a customer on a new project, they develop a product schedule and conduct regular meetings with customers to keep them in the loop during the development phase of the product. ETA also adopts agile philosophies, incremental and iterative type of processes, and a fanatical customer service model to ensure project success.

Maglio proceeds to state that being an early adopter of emerging standards, such as General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) and GTFS-Realtime (GTFS-RT) along with Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) hardware has played a significant role in ETA’s growth and popularity. “The adoption of these standards has left us well-positioned to launch into new markets with novel features more rapidly and with greater efficiency.” Another factor that makes ETA distinctive in the market is its ability to provide users the option of choosing different hardware from different manufacturers to create solutions that are tailored to customers’ requirements.

Maglio credits the continued success of ETA to his team. “At ETA, our growth is proportional to our ability to perform and deliver a fanatical level of customer service to our clients.” ETA recently released a substantial upgrade to SPOT’s administrative software that includes multiple tweaks and improvements, new features like anti-bunching and new mapping, and a brand-new route manager.

In the days to come, ETA will take a big leap in terms of product offerings and market penetration. “We believe these new product rollouts will reshape our value proposition and leapfrog us over our current competition,” concludes Maglio.