The term "Transportation" can mean many things to many people. Most businesses, including IBM, who sell goods or services to transportation type companies refer to a Transportation Industry, at least for product, sales and marketing purposes. In IBM in particular we use a term that others use as well called Travel & Transportation. In reality, which companies or organizations that fall into these categories depends on how they see themselves.
My own experience is that transportation relates to the movement of passengers and goods, while travel is generally the services that support the movement of passengers or support them at their destination. The "Travel & Transportation industry" is not in fact an industry, but rather a grouping of industry "segments" that are industries themselves. These segments include Airports, Aviation, Public Transit, Rail, Shipping and Trucking. Travel includes segments such as Hotels, Casinos and travel related services such as Travel Agencies. At a high level this is an appropriate grouping of Travel and Transportation industry segments.
That said, federal, state and municipal agencies called Departments of Transportation (DOT) would see themselves as in the "Transportation Industry". While they are in most cases public agencies, they do manage and maintain the roads, bridges, tunnels and other structures needed for most ground transportation. And, it must be noted that DOTs have the word "Transportation" in their name.
These would seem to be a good assembly of industry segments who see themselves in the transportation industry or industries. Yet, I am reminded of a user group meeting I attended several years ago when I learned to keep an open mind on the subject. The company I was working for at the time was sponsoring the user group and to create an atmosphere of interaction between users with like interests they had designated tables in the group lunch area with industry signs. So, amongst the signs that said Utilities, Oil & Gas, Life Sciences, Government and others was a sign for the Transportation table. As I went to join my fellow "Transportation" interested people I introduced myself as the company's transportation leader, only to learn my table mates were all from General Motors. While my company would consider GM as in the Automotive or Industrial category, there were no tables marked Automotive so the GM group, who had a large number of attendees, saw themselves best fitting the Transportation industry. Who was I to argue as they are certainly a supplier of the assets that support transportation.
As I move forward with this blog on the topic of Asset Management in Transportation I thought it would be wise to first establish which industry segments will be addressed and share a bit of the company view on the subject. While my comments do not represent all of IBM and others may have different opinions, I think it is necessary to have some boundaries to set expectations. Feel free to share your opinions.