I typically use the final column of the year to offer a review of what stories were trending during the previous 12 months. For a year as jagged as 2020, this task will have to be broken up into sections. COVID-19 dominated our coverage, our business and all our lives from mid-March onward. However, the first eight to 10 weeks of 2020 looked like it was shaping up to be a very different year.
Between January and mid-March, stories covering new technology were grabbing our readers attention such the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s successful pilot of ultra-wideband technology and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority’s testing new of wayfinding technology. New fleets were also popular stories including Amtrak’s new Acela fleet traveling to Colorado for testing, the first look at Texas Central’s interior layout of its train and the Orange County Transportation Authority debuting 10 new hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses.
As the pandemic became more pervasive, there was a noted shift in coverage. Instead of next generation communication technology, the focus was on anti-viral cleaning protocols, reduced service levels, the suspension of fare collection and trying to support and protect frontline industry employees. The pandemic’s financial impact to the industry and both the U.S. and Canadian governments efforts to provide financial aid with the U.S. CARES Act and Canada’s Safe Restart Agreement were all top stories in the second part of 2020.
This year also brought unexpected benchmarks – both good and bad. One of the good: The magazine’s website added one million new users. While I think editorial efforts can fairly claim a portion of that success, I also believe it speaks to the informational needs of the industry, which are greater in times of uncertainty.
From the Mass Transit team, thank you for reading. We wish you good health in 2021 and look forward to continuing to share your stories.