Technology Transfer

The International Public Transportation Program (IPTP) engages in the exchange of innovative U.S. and foreign technologies through international conferences and workshops that have the potential to increase U.S. global market share and further improvements of U.S. transit operations. Topics of recent international cooperative efforts include:

  • Advanced Propulsion Vehicles The IPTP works with foreign countries to develop the next generation of vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, battery-electric, hybrid-electric and other alternative energy technologies.
  • Standards The IPTP works to promote adoption of U.S. standards abroad. Harmonization of standards holds important benefits not only for increasing global market share but also for operational efficiency, safety, and security.
  • Accessibility and Mobility - Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and subsequent legislation, the U.S. has become a global leader on accessibility issues. The IPTP shares this expertise with the international community and assists in improving mobility for persons with disabilities abroad.
  • Sustainability and Climate Change The IPTP surveys and evaluates international policies and best practices related the role of transit in lessening environmental impacts and promoting land use strategies that encourage public transit use.
One person points out the Tokyo Metro fare gates to another person.
Tokyo Metro fare gates.













A stair lift awaits use at the top of a staircase in Seoul, Korea
Stair lifts in Seoul, Korea.

Examples of Recent Technology Transfer Programs

U.S. France Workshop on Livable and Sustainable Communities. In January 2011, the IPTP conducted a two-day Workshop in Washington, DC with the French Ministry of Energy, Ecology, and Sustainable Development. A distinguished group of French officials met with high level DOT, APTA and other transportation leaders. The meeting comes as a result of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) signed in December 2009 by Secretary LaHood and his counterpart Mr. Dominique Bussereau calling for the exchange of information and technology on topics such as congestion mitigation, climate change, livable communities, advanced vehicle technology, and improved ITS applications. The Workshop brought the experts together to formulate plans and develop strategies for cooperation in these areas. Presentations.

Selected U.S. and Chinese Cities, Research Institutes and Universities Agree to Cooperate on Urban Transport Issues. FTA's IPTP was instrumental in bringing together U.S. and Chinese cities and research institutes under the U.S. China Transportation Forum. At a signing ceremony officiated by Deputy Secretary Porcari and Vice Minister Weng on December 2010 in Shenzhen, China, cooperative agreements were signed by pairs of U.S. and China city transportation agencies with similar characteristics including Los Angeles and Beijing, San Francisco and Shenzhen, and New York City and Beijing. Agreements were also established between pairs of transportation research centers universities including the Mineta Transportation Institute and the China Academy of Transportation Sciences, the University of South Florida (USF) and the China Academy of Transportation Sciences (CATS).

FTA Participates in the Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) World Congress in Paris, France. FTA's rail technical expert attended the CBTC World Congress in November 2010 to participate in technical presentations and meetings with senior management, technical specialists and project leaders from the world's foremost metro operators and suppliers. The industry's leading innovators discussed CBTC system requirements, technologies, and best practices for implementation, operation and retrofits. Strategies were discussed that will shape and define the fast, efficient, automated metro networks of the future. Presentations

FTA Assists China with Development of Standards in Transit. FTA hosted representatives from the Ministry of Transport of the People's Republic of China in a series of standards meetings in New Orleans in April 2010. The Chinese are very interested in learning the process of the development of public transportation standards and the Federal Transit Administration has been very interested in bringing the Chinese into the process. The meetings that were conducted included (a) Technical Committee 204, "Public Transportation and Emergency Services" of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO); (b) Symposium on Standardization of Mobile Phones; and (c) ITS Best Practices Workshop: Electric Payment Systems. At the ISO meetings, concurrence was received from Korea, Japan, South Africa, Canada and the European Union partners and now with the Chinese involved, it is hoped that the Chinese will also concur. The development of common standards helps provide U.S. businesses with access to overseas markets.

FTA and Swedish Transport Agency Discuss Cooperation on Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) Concepts. In January 2011, the DOT hosted a delegation from Swedish Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications and the Swedish Transport Administration, to discuss cooperation in the areas of high speed rail, livability and sustainability, personal rapid transit and road safety. FTA conducted a break-out session on personal rapid transit (PRT) i.e. a public transportation system that uses small, automated vehicles on a network of specially-built guideways or on roadways. Based on the discussions the U.S. and Sweden discussed sharing studies and plans, convening a workshop with key stakeholders, and conducting a technical scan of PRT practices, among other cooperative efforts. The IPTP expects to organize a joint PRT meeting with Sweden within the next few months.

TRANSED 2010 International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons in Hong Kong. The theme of the 2010 TRANSED Conference was "Sustainable Transport for All". Michael Winter from FTA's IPTP who is also a member of the TRANSED steering committee, delivered a presentation entitled "The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Effect on Universal Design." [Link to presentation] FTA and Easter Seals Project Action chaired the Disability Forum on Accessibility. The Forum gave participants from around the world the opportunity to express their views and experiences with living with a disability, and how mobility affects their ability to function in society.

FTA Hosts Russian Delegation for Technology Scan of Best Practices in Mobility. The City of Moscow is embarking on a program to make its public transit system free from barriers and accessible for all persons. A delegation from Moscow contacted the IPTP to arrange a technology scan to learn more about U.S. accessibility and mobility technologies and best practices. The scan included visits to Boston, MA and New York, NY. In Boston, presentations were made by the Institute for Human Centered Design and by the MBTA. In New York, the delegation met with the United Spinal Association, the Center for the Independence of the Disabled and the New York MTA. The IPTP is now working with the City of Moscow to develop transit accessibility guidelines.

U.S./Japan Workshop 2008 In October 2008, the FTA hosted the U.S./Japan Workshop on Public Transportation during the APTA Annual Meeting and Expo in San Diego, CA. Delegates from both the U.S. and Japan made presentations and shared information on a host of topics including high speed rail standards, bus rapid transit, and hybrid electric and fuel cell vehicle technology. Learn more about the U.S. and Japan workshop (MS Word)

Korea Accessibility 2008 The Korean Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (KSRPD) requested a meeting with the FTA as part of an international studies program called "Global Challenges for Young Persons with Disabilities." Michael Winter from the FTA provided information on the impact of ADA in public access and discussed how ADA has been implemented and monitored. Learn more about the U.S. and Korea workshop (PDF)

U.S./European Workshop on Accessibility 2008 - In late June - early July, the FTA, with APTA and Easter Seals Project Action, took part in the first U.S./European Accessibility workshop in Amsterdam. Participating countries included France, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as the host country, the Netherlands. Discussion topics included the status of accessibility legislation and implementation, ITS technologies that support accessibility, best practices, and areas of potential cooperation and next steps. Learn more about the U.S. and European workshop (MS Word)

Workshop on Public Transportation in Russia 2007 - In May 2007, FTA organized the 5th International Workshop on Public Transportation in Moscow Russia. The workshop, which was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Transportation of the Russian Federation and the City of Moscow, provided a forum through which U.S. and Russian transportation officials could share information and experiences in the areas of transit planning and congestion management, safety and security, accessible services for the mobility impaired, and training tomorrow's transit workforce. Learn more about the U.S. and Russian workshop (PDF)