Central Ohio Transit Authority Discusses the Emerging Technology of Automated Vehicles

Michael Carroll - Central Ohio Tech Power Player Honoree

Michael Carroll


Central Ohio Transit Authority



Jim Burden

Sales Manager

RoundTower Technologies


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CIO of Central Ohio Transit Authority, Michael Carroll, discusses the emerging technology of automated vehicles.


Hello and welcome to the comSpark podcast where you will get to meet today's technology thought leaders. To learn more, visit comspark.tech


JB: Hello! We are here today with Michael Carroll, who is the CIO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority, and my name is Jim Burden, with RoundTower Technologies, and I will be the guest moderator today. So, let's get started. Michael, thanks for coming today. We certainly appreciate your time. In your opinion, what's one of the most exciting, disruptive changes in technology that has impacted your work?


MC: So, thanks for having me. Appreciate it. I think emerging technology of automated vehicles; it's a new area for everyone, and especially being in the transit agency. We have some challenges to meet the first mile, last mile opportunity. So, COTA is working through a first mile, last mile strategy and study, and it's very exciting technology. It's also new to a lot of folks, so the customer adoption is always hard for us.


JB: As you look at these new innovative technologies, how do you fuel those efforts with your team to make sure your team is constantly looking at improving their technology footprint?


MC: Well, we're really fortunate in Central Ohio – we have kind of a large university – The Ohio State – so, we have a lot of research partners and they help us to understand what's coming and what's next. So, it's important for us to be a good partner with the university and our smart Columbus partners. We won the U.S. Department of Transportation's Smart City Award – the first one in the U.S. – so we're partnering very closely with them to understand what are the technologies that are of the future.


JB: Great! Awesome! And Michael, how has your role as CIO changed as these new innovative technologies have entered into your workplace?


MC: Is drastically the word I should use? It's very, very different. Before, it was just the nuts and bolts of keep the data center working and get people's Outlook to work, and that's all they cared about. Especially in transportation, this is a time of revolution where we have not seen these technologies before. And so, we have to adapt, and adapt very quickly. You know, we're used to technology moving fast. It's faster. Like, as I get older it seems to be faster and faster.


JB: As technology has changed so fast. and your experience has changed, how do you manage keeping the lights on where most of our budgets tend to typically reside with this new innovation? And how do you bridge that gap?


MC: First, I have an amazing team. So, I have 16 people at COTA who work tirelessly to make sure the lights stay on, and if they're not on, they work through the night to get them back on. In addition to that, I have a president, a CEO, who is very supportive of technology. So, I'm very fortunate. I'm in a position where I can go and say, “Hey, I have this crazy idea,” and she'll look at me and go, “Yeah, that's kinda crazy, but let's take a look at it.”


JB: That's great. Good for you. Well, thank you for your time, Michael. This has been Jim Burden and Michael Carroll from COTA. To learn more about us, please visit comspark.tech. Goodbye, until next time.


To learn more about sponsorship opportunities for 2019, contact Michelle Ziegler at michelle.ziegler@venuemag.net