Bringing Public Transportation Into The Future
I don't ride on public transit regularly, so I might not know the status quo, and that can vary from place to place anyway. Some of these ideas might be implemented piecemeal already, but ideally, they'd all be driven to 100% achievement.
1. Accessibility for Disabilities
In my hometown, there are 'WheelTrans' smaller buses that pick up those with mobility issues (wheelchairs, etc.). These are separate from public buses and not really the right idea when it comes to inclusivity. I've seen 'kneeling buses' that can lower themselves and extendable ramps. Still, I bet there isn't a public transit system in the world that would get an 'A+' from disability advocates, and it's common for those with disabilities to use taxis at their own expense. I know it can be done better.
2. Air Filtration
Between viruses and odours, I'll bet there's lots of room for improvement
3. Fare Integration with CitiBike and similar services
There are bike-sharing services in many cities (or e-bikes, or scooters). Imagine that with a single fare transaction or app, you could step off a bus, and grab a bike for the rest of your journey. Whatever shortens the time to the front door of your destination (which is one of the drawbacks of public transportation).
I'm not in favour of Orwellian surveillance generally speaking, but public transit venues are home to some of the most random and horrific crimes. I wonder if the surveillance cameras found were coupled to an AI that could sound an alert in real-time things could be improved. Security cameras are used to collect evidence after a crime has been committed, but if a public address system announced that a crime was being committed as it happened, the perpetrator might actually be deterred. The AI would need to be able to recognize signs of aggression.
5. Double Decker Buses
They're cool and they pack more bodies in per trip.
6. Renewable Energy/Low Emissions
Most modern fleets are using hybrid electrics or other renewable energy technology, but it needs to be universal.
If you're lugging a suitcase or a lot of cargo, you'll get dirty looks for the space you take up. Being able to put your cargo in a separate dedicated space would make public transportation closer to having a car.
8. Crowd-Source Route Optimization
Use app location tracking to find out where people are coming from/going to as they get on/off the bus. Could stops be placed in better locations? Would a re-route/detour make sense?
9. Fine-tuned Fares
When you use Google Maps to figure out the best combinations of buses and trains to get to your destination, you should be able to have that functionality from the public transit agency's app/website, and charge an exact fare to get you there - exact to the cent, no more, no less. No overpaying for a day pass or whatever. If your journey is less than an average ride, you pay less. If your journey is more, you pay more.
10. Ubiquitous WiFi
11. Power sharing
If you've ever been stuck behind a bus and unable to change lanes to pass (e.g. you're turning soon, or traffic is too heavy for lane changes), it would be cool to link your car to the bus (maybe a magnet in the bumper?). As long as an algorithm could enable it, the power to move your car and the bus forward would be shared with lower fuel usage on the aggregate.