A photo of Connor Caldicott
BlogMar 25, 2024
Written by Newsroom

Life at The Routing Company: Connor Caldicott on Data-Driven Transit Innovation

In our “Life at The Routing Company” series, we highlight people across our team that power TRC’s customer deployments around the world. Meet Connor Caldicott, our Director of Market Ops and Analytics. 

In his role, Connor ensures that our decisions are informed by quantitative insights, and makes data from active deployments available to our partners (customers) in the most comprehensive, clear, and accessible way. 

In 2023, the work Connor spearheads led to our breakthrough product, Pingo Analytics™ – which provides next-generation transit analytics and customer reporting. This was a direct result of customer collaboration and market listening, gained through over 100 unique data requests since TRC’s inception. 

Read on to learn more about Connor’s day-to-day at TRC, and his perspective on the importance of data-driven innovation in transit. 

What do you do at The Routing Company?

Our Analytics team ensures that the data we collect through our deployments supports partners in delivering the full potential of their transit services to their riders. 

For context, a couple of weeks ago, industry-media Mass Transit Mag shared a report on 2024 Transit Trends. One of them was “Data is king”, identifying how expertise in data governance and data architecture plays an increasingly important role for transit agencies and operators. 

This insight showcases the importance of the work of teams like mine on the software provider side. I relate to the words of Mass Transit Mag editor Mischa Wanek-Libman: “pressure will be on the business community supporting transit agencies to develop tools and platforms that will help them parse through the data available to find useful information that can inform agencies’ actionable outcomes.” 

In practice, my work involves nearly everything after a fleet is launched. This ranges from fleet analysis to ensure our partners' services run smoothly, to technical support, to building and managing our analytics infrastructure. To give an example, we recently built out new fulfillment metrics which tell us how much demand a fleet's existing supply is able to handle.

A graph of average rider demand, met vs unmet.

An example of a granular view used by The Routing Company to analyze utilization and how much demand we are fulfilling for our partners, which helps us advise on how they can further optimize vehicle supply planning.

What does an average day at The Routing Company look like?

After a 6 am wake-up, wholesome breakfast, and workout, I’m ready to tackle the day's transit challenges with a clear mind. 

With a cup of coffee in hand, I dive into fleet metrics. Mondays are usually dedicated to analyzing the previous week's performance and any new service launches. We examine trends and ensure we are on track towards helping our customers meet their goals for their deployments.

Then, the data we gather and the input from our Partner Success Managers, who are in close contact with our partners, dictate my focus areas for the week. What this boils down to is ultimately delivering the best rider experience possible. For instance, we recently dug deep into one of our fleet parameters. The goal was clear - optimizing our Estimated Time of Arrival (ETAs) to ensure a seamless rider experience. 

What is, or has been, your personal experience with transit?
My firsthand experiences have been a catalyst for a career step into transit innovation. 

Living in Chicago at a young age made me highly aware of the safety concerns in transit during certain hours. Yet while living in New York later on, my subway commute showcased the power of well-integrated transit systems, sparking curiosity about whether on-demand solutions could be similarly woven into the fabric of day-to-day life. 

I felt that there was a larger opportunity for transit development, particularly regarding cost-effectiveness and adaptability to evolving city dynamics. 

What then led you to TRC? 

At the start of my career, I worked on UberPool. While the product was not designed for public transit, there was overlap, and I witnessed the transformative power of shared rides. Not only does pooling lead to cost savings for passengers, but it also presents a formidable technical challenge that immediately intrigued me.

I naturally gravitated towards TRC, a company with an experienced, driven and agile team, offering a routing engine with transit at its core. TRC’s proprietary algorithm is purpose-built specifically to address this challenging but high-impact optimization problem: which vehicles should pick up and drop off which riders and in which order. 
I was drawn to the complexity of creating routes for drivers and riders that enable both ride-sharing and a seamless user experience, while integrating the broader public transit network. 

What excites you most about working at The Routing Company now?

As a technology provider, we orchestrate the needs of a wide range of stakeholders: riders, drivers, dispatchers, and agencies. At TRC, we steer all features of our Pingo™ suite towards a unified vision of efficient, accessible, and responsive transit solutions. 

I work with a team that genuinely cares about the economic, societal and sustainable impact of transit, has a profound interest in the technical challenges at hand, and the expertise to make a tangible change for end-users. As we grow – in the scale of our operations and in the diversity of our partners – this remains the end-goal. 

What is one opportunity you see for the transit industry?

What stands out is addressing the challenge of reporting capabilities for agencies. As microtransit, commingling and dial-a-ride services gain momentum, the need for thorough reporting becomes even more pronounced. 

To offer concrete improvements to reporting, we’ve understood that we need to design tools that support in-depth, relevant and timely analysis. This implies giving agencies the autonomy to conduct analyses in-house and craft bespoke dashboards. Solutions like Pingo Analytics™ not only streamline their reporting processes, but also provide the most comprehensive understanding of service dynamics. 

Based on interactions with our partners, we released additional features in January 2024. These include self-serve reporting capabilities and additional on-demand transit metrics, to combine pre-developed National Transit Database (or "NTD") reports or to generate any report an operator needs whether in real time or based on historical data. At TRC, we believe our partners deserve to work with robust data pipelines, where information is structured optimally for accurate insights, ease of use, and decision-making – for employees at every experience level.

Our full suite of Pingo products addresses the bigger picture. The true value of a healthy reporting foundation, for instance, is not only confronting existing challenges like efficiency and digital literacy. We’re setting the stage for a more agile, cost-effective and responsive future in transit.