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1:1 with Katherine Conrad, Director at NEORide

Publication Date: Sep 22, 2022

This is a transcript of a video interview with Katherine Conrad 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. 

Hi, my name is Katherine Conrad. I’m with NEORide.


What inspired your project?

NEORide is a council of governments. We’re based in Ohio. We started in 2019, a multi-county mobility mobile ticketing system. We really wanted to look at ways to expand that project, and then also to be able to focus on people who are unbanked or underbanked to make sure that they could also utilize this project for fare collection.


What are your project goals? 

We are looking at focusing on helping people who are unbanked and underbanked. So we are putting together a system not only that has validators on the bus, but we are also looking at integrating smart cards. Hopefully by the end of this year, as well as fare capping, and ABT as well.


How are you engaging with your end users?

Through multiple different ways. One, we have a research component where we are working with Cleveland State University to help survey our riders and better understand their needs and what’s working and what isn’t.

We also have multiple marketing things that we do. We have a website and we have collaborative marketing material that can be taken and utilized by any of our partner agencies.


How does your project impact your community? 

I would say it’s really taking off. Before we started this project, we had a smaller group of transit, probably around 12 or 13. We’ve recently added the Greater Cleveland RTA. We’re also in conversations with Transit West Virginia, and we’re expanding to more multi-state transportation, and working really well to collaborate multi-county transportation. So I think it’s really been well received.


Tell us about your project partners and their role. 

So we have 14 transits who are currently used only using EZFare. We range from very large transits to mid-size and very small rural. So we’ve been able to build a robust system that really works for all shapes and sizes of transit systems and different use cases. One thing that’s unique about our project is that we have an integration with transit, Uber, and MoveIt. So it really has been helpful on the marketing side. I always like to say that my marketing budget’s about $5 and this is about $5 billion. So it’s been a really good partnership for us, and it’s really helped EZFare continue to grow. 


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

SUMC has been a really very helpful partner in this project. We’ve been meeting with them monthly, talking about our process and moving forward, and they’ve been really helpful in reaching out as a resource. We used them early on to help with the survey development and they’ve been able to connect us with different partners from around the country who are also working on similar projects.