SYSTRA USA Thinks Globally and Acts Locally to Develop the Future of Mobility
As a world leader in engineering and consulting to the transportation and mobility industry, SYSTRA USA is all about forward movement. Every element of the company is geared around providing services to improve all types of mass transit and delivering infrastructure for transportation projects.
The business is part of the international SYSTRA Group, the only A&E (Architecture and Engineering) firm of its size in the world that is 100% focused on transportation and mobility. SYSTRA Group’s major shareholders are French mass transit firms: RATP, the world’s fifth-largest public transportation operator, and SNCF, the organization that runs France’s national rail traffic, including their TGV high-speed rail network.
In addition to North America, SYSTRA has offices in Europe, Australia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. While they are specialists in rail transportation and mass transit design, engineering, and construction management, the company is transport-mode agnostic. They are all about improving the way people move through their lives, whether by metro rapid transit, commuter and intercity passenger rail, high-speed and light rail, bus, electric vehicles, self-driving vehicles, and even by monorails, cable cars, hyperloop, or air taxi.
If you can think of a way to navigate a city, SYSTRA can make it smarter, more efficient, and agile enough to accommodate the ever-accelerating advancements in communication, zero emission, sustainable, connected, and control technologies.
As a mobility and transportation infrastructure specialist, SYSTRA touches nearly every aspect of rail and transit engineering, including planning, operations, electrical and traction power, signals and communications, train control and systems safety, construction management, and architecture. It also offers engineering support services to contractors for design-build and other alternative delivery techniques on complex projects.
A holistic and collaborative enterprise, the company draws expertise from the best engineers in transportation and cutting-edge technology from around the world and blends that mastery with local experts in the communities they serve.
That approach makes SYSTRA USA the advisor of choice for its clients. “With our strong base of technical experts in the U.S. and access to international knowledge, we have the unique ability to put that into the context of our U.S. clients and present them with new solutions. We are also able to complement/support/enhance our U.S. staff with talent from abroad to offer our clients expertise that’s not readily available in the U.S.,” said Frédéric Bana, Chief Operating Officer for SYSTRA USA.
The organization’s key values are connected teams, technical excellence, and bold leadership. “Our employees really reflect that in terms of excellence and connected teams,” he said. For example, SYSTRA USA, along with subject matter experts in Canada, is working to develop a new light rail line in Austin, Texas. He added, “We have professionals throughout the U.S., in New York, New Jersey, and California, for example, working with our counterparts in France. The primary ambition for us all is to be the Signature Team for transportation solutions that, based on shared values linking our teams globally, represents a commitment to our clients and the communities and regions in which we live and work.”
Speeding Along the Innovation Track
Modernization, innovation, and sustainability are SYSTRA hallmarks, which derive from their international roots. For years, several EU and Asian countries have been operating ultra-modern transit systems with technology that’s been slow to arrive here.
For example, communications-based train control (CBTC), which is more accurate than traditional railway signaling systems, resulting in safer and more efficient railway traffic, is a standard feature in mass transit throughout Europe and Asia.
The distinctive blend of SYSTRA USA’s professionals and colleagues from overseas with CBTC expertise has been brought to bear on popularizing the technology here. SYSTRA USA has been working with New York City Transit (NYCT) on its CBTC Modernization Program since 2015 and the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) program since 2020.
“Our exposure to other markets, other clients, and new technologies internationally provides us with better insight to help develop enhanced solutions for our clients,” Bana noted.
When it comes to sustainability, the rail transportation sector has been ahead of other industries for decades, particularly because most rail systems are easily electrified. “As transportation and mobility engineers, we are major players in sustainable development.” Bana stressed. “We’ve developed an internal platform of green innovation to support the transition to more sustainable solutions.”
SYSTRA has developed a simulation tool that helps clients determine the most effective ways to upgrade existing vehicles to electric vehicles. SYSTRA interfaces with external stakeholders like utilities providers to help service delivery, fleet movement, and the complexities of shifting from diesel buses to electric buses.
Clearly, partnership is SYSTRA’s heart and soul. SYSTRA partners with local, minority, and women-owned businesses in its key geographies to deliver signature projects and support the growth of local business communities. This helps create a stronger ecosystem of companies to deliver rail and transit projects in the U.S. Sustainability is also at the heart of SYSTRA’s business, promoting zero emission mobility.
“It’s looking more holistically at how we can bring innovation to our clients’ operations to meet their sustainability goals,” Bana said.
The company continually invests in next-gen AEC tech such as simulation, modeling, and design management tools, and builds custom platforms in-house to accommodate them. On the program management side, they are building an integrated platform that will give project managers instant access to every element of a project, from finance to design and delivery.
Upcoming investments include the development of a mobility-as-a-service platform, and an innovative visual tool to help cities plan and implement urban bicycle networks.
“We also are very active with autonomous vehicles,” he reported, noting that they are looking at autonomous mobility from individual vehicles to fully autonomous trains, light rail, and buses. “That’s something that’s coming. Sometime soon you’ll be seeing a fully autonomous bus moving down the street.”
SYSTRA USA’s forward motion is propelled by extremely competent people who are passionate about transit and transportation. As Bana put it, “When asked about what our employees like most about working at SYSTRA USA, they respond most often with the people. Indeed, our people are what makes us stand out from our competitors. We have created a culture to foster their collaborative nature, motivation, drive for excellence, and ability to bring together worldwide expertise and innovation to provide solutions to our clients.”
A critical social differentiation for SYSTRA is a deeply ingrained commitment to diversity. For example, the company has a higher percentage of female engineers than most of their competitors. The CEO of SYSTRA USA is Kimberly Slaughter, a woman of color with a recognized trajectory of success in the U.S. rail and transit industry, which Bana sees as an important message to the industry. In recent years there have also been dramatic changes in the rail and transit industry at the executive management level with more females and minorities in leadership positions.
“It’s upon us, all actors in the industry, to push towards a goal of more diversity at every level, but especially at the executive level. A company needs to reflect the diversity of the communities that we live and work in,” he concluded.
Specialist in architecture, engineering, and program and construction management services for the transportation, infrastructure, and facilities markets.
We have been offering services in the US since 1985. From high speed, commuter, intercity rail, and metros to light rail, electric and autonomous vehicles, and bus systems, we deliver innovative solutions that move the world forward.
Committed to designing and delivering safe, efficient, and cost-effective transportation solutions that enhance passengers’ experience, SYSTRA promotes sustainability and innovation in our work and promotes reducing our environmental impact through our projects and in our offices.
55 Broad Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004