Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on December 6th, 2015

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Planes, trains and automobiles. Tech, transportation and the environment in 2015.

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As we approach the end of 2015 and take a look back at all the places technology has taken people and the world as a whole, we can see vast improvements, as well as stumbling blocks along the way. Day after day, week after week and year after year we will see advancements as well as pitfalls. It's how the world works.

A little over a year ago, here on the blog, we discussed how tech can make commuting better. The blog specifically discussed the frustration we experienced using one of the Chicago area transit systems, METRA.  At the time, METRA did not have an app for ticket purchasing or scanning by conductors. In August 2014 one had to order tickets either via the mail or via their website that would then mail the tickets to you or in person at a ticket window with limited hours or as a last resort on board for a higher fee from a conductor.

Well, I am pleased to announce that as of November 19th, Metra has rolled out a paperless ticketing system! Customers can use smartphones, laptops or tablets for virtual tickets. Metra says monthly pass holders were able to start using mobile passes December 1.  The system cost the city $2.5 million dollars to develop. It was not made public how much this new system would save Metra or the City of Chicago in the future. But the convenience this app will bring for commuters is huge. You can manage your tickets and orders, get up to date information about schedule delays and more.

Chicago's CTA and Metra are not the only ones utilizing systems like these. Last week it was announced that MasterCard teamed up with 81 cities to allow for paperless ticketing via smartphones. The initiative is for time-saving, cost-saving as well as aiding in climate change.  MasterCard estimates that by removing ticketing machines and paper tickets it can reduce costs by over two thirds and apply the savings to address emissions and climate concerns.  Some of MasterCards research shows that by utilizing technology and the paperless apps they can restructure peak travel times that could generate cost saving measures to big cities of up to $200 million dollars per year!

Airlines like United and American among others have been using apps for paperless tickets and passport management for several years. Making getting through airports and boarding planes simpler.

Many companies and industries are embracing technology. They are using apps and custom software solutions to reduce paper and be kinder to the environment as well as being a cost saving measure.  Here on the blog in May, we discuss how custom software was fueling global business in 2015. One key item on that blog that I would like to revisit was the mention of Yale University and its efforts to go paperless. This particular article about Yale focused on the fiscal year 2011 and the changes Yale made to save money and help the environment. By taking strategic steps to switch to digital time sheets, course packets, annual reports and more in its initial year the university saved in excess of $252,000 in paper/printing fees alone not to mention how many trees they saved and the benefit to the environment.

Custom software solutions may come with a hefty upfront price tag but the benefits that can be realized for years to come in terms of financial savings and environmental benefits is priceless. The custom solutions can be built out in phases to help ease the cost. Business can reinvest the savings into growing their business, expanding and offering new services.  Custom software can save your company money, reduce errors, streamline departments by connecting B2B systems all while making the world we live in a better place.

Are you a commuter who has used any of these new paperless apps? Is it making your commute smoother? Perhaps you are a business that could benefit from cost saving measures of going paperless like Yale University did. If so, let's talk about the plethora of options creating custom software for your business can do for your business growth.