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#571 Online: Transit Tech is Civic Tech


Kristin Taylor, Civic Design Leader, MBTA, she/her
Ryan Mahoney, Chief Operating Officer, TransitOPS, he/him

In-house civic tech teams are an essential infrastructure for a government that works for the people. In this presentation, Kristin Taylor and Ryan Mahoney, Design and Engineering leaders, describe the urgency and unique obstacles faced in employing civic tech methods in public transit based on their experiences at the US’s largest in-house transit tech team at Massachusetts’ MBTA.

The talk includes transitioning from solving problematic yet obvious technical issues to more nuanced rider challenges, tech band-aid fixes, solutionistic obstacles, and measuring progress using better-aligned metrics—all in service, making transit tech truly rider-led.

Enabling teams to address the most critical unmet needs doesn’t get easier with a large, established in-house civic tech team. In those conditions, it’s even more essential for the structure and operations to be in place so tech biases and powerful voices don’t get prioritized ahead of solutions driven by rider insight.