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1:1 with John Lancaster, Chief Development Officer at the Memphis Area Transit Authority

Publication Date: Sep 22, 2022

This is a transcript of a video interview with John Lancaster on May 16, 2022 in Chicago, IL at the Mobility Innovation Collaborative workshop. Find these videos on the Mobility Learning Center here


Tell us about yourself and your project. 

I’m John Lancaster. I’m the Chief Development Officer at the Memphis Area Transit Authority in Memphis, Tennessee.


What inspired your project?

It goes back a long time. We did a lot of planning back nearly 10 years ago, and then we were successful with the MOD On-Ramp project. We were one of the early participants in that, and then we got the IMI grant, and then we’re also AIM grant recipients. So we’ve kind of had a long history in over a 10-year period developing our project.


What are your project goals? 

At MATA, we’ve really envisioned ourselves as being the mobility provider for our region. So we really look to find innovative ways to meet the needs of our local customers. And of course, with the changing world, with the technology, we think we can find some efficiencies and again, provide effective trips for people that really need a different form of transportation.


How are you engaging with your end users?

A large population of our customers are very low-income, minority people. So they are a lot of our existing bus riders and we’re really trying to capture some of the first and last mile connections and people that already use transit. There are a lot of people that are elderly. So again, we’re trying to leverage new technologies with those people to provide more efficient transportation.


How does your project impact your community? 

Well, we think it’s being very effective. I could say the demand for the ridership has been more than nearly we can deliver. So we think it’s making a big impact. We know that we’re meeting the needs of people. Our big focus is getting people to jobs, medical services, and educational opportunities. And right now, we know we’ve got a lot of school kids that are using the service, and again, being in low-income, minority communities, it’s really providing a very effective form of transportation.


Tell us about your project partners and their role. 

We’ve actually worked with a couple of different people. TransLoc has been our primary provider of our technology. We have had a long history with them with our vehicle location system. And then also we’ve got another partnership through another project with Via. 


How does the Shared-Use Mobility Center support your project and team?

SUMC has been one of our partners from the very beginning. They’ve provided a lot of technical expertise and worked with our other peer agencies. That’s really provided a lot of great information, and being able to share it with other transit agencies has been extremely helpful. I’d say SUMC has been one of our primary partners for this program. I don’t really know what we do without them and we really appreciate their help.