I was honored to be invited to give two presentations this year at Oracle’s OpenWorld 2012. While they will be available through the OpenWorld content site, I thought I would just share them on slideshare for anyone interested. The content is somewhat repetitive from the Collaborate presentation earlier this year, but does incorporate some lessons since the project went live.  The second was our feature on the implementation of the Environmental Accounting and Reporting module in JD Edwards.


Please see Oracle’s website for the presentations.

environmental accounting, public transit
Comments Off on NCTD Wins Oracle’s Eco Innovation Award

It was very nice to see that my former employer won an award at Oracle’s OpenWorld for “Eco Innovation” this year. Many good advancements were made in the last 5 years while I was the CTO/CSO on the sustainability plan, from the installation of over 500 kW of renewable power, to changes in lighting and recycling, to the installation of the environment accounting tools to facilitate the Climate Registry, APTA, and federal reporting. So I was very happy to to see the accolade, and to see the Environmental Accounting and Reporting Program Manager Fred Knapp get to accept the award. Little transit District playing with the big boys like Hitachi Consulting, Schneider Electric, Korean Air, Infosys, and Ricoh once again.


It was a bittersweet moment, to know that the effort was being acknowledged while also knowing that I walked away from the program I created. You always hope that the program is more than the vision of one person and that the organization will continue to commit to the plan even after you leave. It will be interesting to see what happens with Sustainability and public transit in San Diego county in the next 5 years.

environment, environmental accounting
Comments Off on Oracle Case Study Study Video Live

20121002-162641.jpgThe Oracle NCTD case study is live on their site. These videos always are cringe-inducing, but there is some good info about the project we completed while I was the CTO/CSO.


I believe strongly in the need for companies to track their sustainability information and key performance indicators in a manner that is auditable, verifiable, and yet cost-effective. This product helped my team archive that goal while I worked with the District.

public transit
Comments Off on US Delegation to Germany on Energy Efficient Public Transit

During the month of September, I was very fortunate to participate in an American delegation to Germany on “Energy Efficient Public Transit.”  The delegation, sponsored by the German American Chambers of Commerce and the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, met with a variety of entities that focus on providing innovation in the transportation industry, several of which I will feature over the coming posts.


One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the European Innotrans conference in Berlin.  While visiting over 100 booths, I was able to interview several companies on their new ideas that would lead to more efficient and greener technologies for the public transit industry.  However, I was struck by how focused the “emerging technology” efforts are around vehicle weight.  The reason is clear – fuel usage is the single largest carbon contributor for any public transit entity, so reducing the fuel use through weight reduction and streamlining is an imperative.  Several manufacturers, including Bombardier, Siemens, Stadler, GE, Hitachi, Hyundai, and others, focused on reducing weight by being creative in the bogeys and the heavy industrial components of rail cars.  They also are spending a significant amount of time on new composites – which is also a focus of US APTA Bus Committee members.  Companies like Wawrzaszek ISS featured in the image provide composite materials designed to reduce the weight of internal car components and shells.  These newer materials significantly reduce weight without compromising on the safety of the vehicles.


Interestingly, I expected to see emerging technologies that were not yet adopted in the US given that the European market is more robust and strives to achieve compliance with a more rigorous environmental standard.  However, there were few vendors that offered a dramatic shift in technology.  Instead, it felt like all were attacking each and every component of the vehicle for any opportunity to reduce the weight.


One exception was the General Electric booth which featured the first EPA Tier 4 locomotive to hit the market – their Evolution Diesel locomotive.  While this vehicle is targeted exclusively toward the freight market right now, they did commit that they are in development for an equivalent vehicle for commuter rail.

green computing
Comments Off on Changes

Well it is official: I am no longer with the North County Transit District. Looking over the last five years, I can say this has been a grand adventure with a highly-skilled technology team. We did some great work for the people of San Diego County. From security, to sustainability, to customer applications, to Green IT – we had the chance to innovate. I am extremely proud of the work this techie superhero team performed. What a ride.


But change is good and I am excited about the future and the opportunity to do work for a variety of companies. The ecology.IT consultancy is up and running and ready for engagements. And there are some interesting blog notes that will be coming soon: a trip to Germany to view energy-efficient transit technologies, Oracle OpenWorld, and APTA Annual and an investigation of emerging transit technologies. Stay tuned for further adventures.

infrastructure, manufacturer
Comments Off on Presentation at Fujitsu Labs of America Technology Symposium 2012

I was very fortunate to be able to attend the 2012 Fujitsu Labs of America Technology Symposium in June. The topics were varied and interesting, from emerging technologies in education to You Tube’s exponential growth.  My panel was on Intelligent Transportation Systems and how they will be driving bandwidth requirements and technology change.


The first presenter in my session was from Fujitsu Japan, and he demonstrates a very interesting model that was built using automatic vehicle locators (AVL) in taxi cabs during the aftermath of the Tsunami.  My presentation starts at 28:00, and then there is a roundtable session after.


I highly recommend spending a few moments surfing through the FLATS2012 channel because some of the presentations were fascinating.  I was lucky to be allowed to be a part of this group.

Video streaming by Ustream

public transit
Comments Off on On-Board Ticket Sales

We have been pushing hard to implement on-board ticket sales for our COASTER commuter rail line.  We gave ourselves a timeline of less than 6 months to get this accomplished, and I am proud to say that my Project Manager Donna was able to push the tools live right on schedule.


There is of course a difference between the technology being ready, and the company being ready.


Happily, the team has now demonstrated this product successfully across several special events.  The adoption rate by customers has been very high even with little publicity.  This is one of those technologies whose time has come, and we are very lucky to have a solid business partner Ryan from the company CooCoo to usher these tools in.


Finally, we have the ability for customers to purchase tickets online, to buy onboard the vehicle, and to even receive text and smartphone-based tickets.


For every project there is a downside as well, and in this instance it is that we were unfortunately unable to integrate this with our other ticketing systems.  Our tap-card, RFID-based ticket vending machines and validators rely upon a very different technology – one that has to function regardless of whether we have connectivity.  The tolerance for failure on these systems is far lower than on a smartphone app.


So this also unfortunately means additional devices that our fare enforcement and security teams have to carry.  As if they did not already have a Batman-worthy belt of devices to work with.  Inconvenience to our employees always loses to convenience for our customers.


If you are interested in learning more about online ticketing, please check the NCTD website.

environmental accounting, sustainability
Comments Off on Collaborate 2012: Environmental Accounting Presentation

Thought I would provide a link to the 2012 Collaborate presentation on Oracle’s JD Edwards Environmental Accounting module.

hardware, infrastructure, public transit
Comments Off on No good deed goes unpunished…

A few weeks ago I wrote an update about our new Wi-Fi service onboard the COASTER Commuter Rail.  Less than 6 weeks later, negative press:  North County Times: WiFi Connections unsteady on Amtrak, Coaster.


This is not really a surprise.  I mentioned in the last post that this is a cellular technology provided by T-Mobile, and that cellular is imperfect.  I also talked about the original approach to the service versus what was pushed into production.  This is an example of how sometimes less is more – higher density in fewer cars rather than low density in all cars would have resulted in a better experience for a smaller number of customers.


Time for a new business case analysis…

environment, solar, sustainability
Comments Off on Electric Vehicle Charging Station Open

evWe completed our work with ECOtality this week and the new electric vehicle charging stations in Oceanside are now open.  The NC Times did an article about them today.


This was yet another overly-complicated project, proving to be far more challenging than we originally thought.  From permitting issues to politics, to fighting to sell the business case to allow these chargers to be free, this project seemed nearly doomed.


But fortunately for the San Diego EV community, they are now live and users can charge for free off of clean solar power.


Photo courtesy of the North County Times by photographer Hayne Palmour IV.