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Transportation data and analytics company opens in Arlington

Urban Insights, a transportation data and predictive analytics company, launched in Arlington on Tuesday. The company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), which is part of Cubic Corporation, a global company with more than 8,000 employees. CTS has provided payment system solutions—like the boxes Metro riders use to top up their SmarTrip cards—for more than 40 years.

The Arlington location will give Urban Insights, which has both an international focus and an interest in transportation policy, "another strong market for Cubic," says Wade Rosado, director of analytics for Urban Insights.

"The population is growing substantially in urban areas," Rosado explains. "Transportation resources are becoming strained. Funding [resources] are strained. We need to pinpoint areas of inefficiency."

Urban Insights integrates data from systems that might not otherwise be integrated—electronic payment, scheduling, automatic vehicle location, passenger counting, financial, HR, crew management, and more—and puts it together to provide insight into how a transportation system, such as WMATA or BART or the Paris Metro, might operate more efficiently. 

"We're integrating data generated from sources that have never been joined up before," Rosado says, "from IT systems that deliver data at different times, to paint a more complete picture." 

As a hypothetical example, Rosado says, WMATA delivers 344 million trips per year. Shaving 15 seconds of wait time off each of those trips would save Metrobus and Metrorail riders 1.43 million hours. Rosado points to UPS's 2011 decision to eliminate as many left turns as possible from its routes to another way big data has helped a company in the transportation business (sort of) find efficiencies. The specifics in public transportation will be different (unless WMATA decides to tell all its bus drivers to make only right turns), but he's confident that the software will find ways for transit systems to save money.

Urban Insights has a staff of 12 in Arlington and most recently hired a data scientist. Rosado says the company will be looking to hire a system administrator and a business analyst within the next four to six weeks.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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