Say hi to Connexionz staffer, Danielle

Connexion has a head office in Santa Clarita (Cal.) where its operations and delivery teams are based, and a sales and support team based in Denver (Col.).  But we also have a development team based in Christchurch, on New Zealand’s South Island.

New Zealanders are often called Kiwis (we are named after a flightless bird) and in this issue we introduce you to one of our Kiwi team, Danielle Whanau, who works as a Tests and Q&A Analyst.

Tell us about yourself, Danielle

My name is Danielle Whanau.  I was born in Christchurch where we had that massive earthquake about a decade ago and I’ve been raised in a few different places around New Zealand.  Dad was in the NZ Army.

For those of you with a geography interest, NZ also has a North Island, a Stewart Island (right at the bottom of the South Island) and the Chatham Islands (about 800km or 500 miles) off the South Island’s east coast.  NZ is in that part of the world colloquially called ‘Down Under’, and it’s where the Lord of the Rings films were made.

Growing up I played any sport I could – rugby (our national sport), softball, squash, athletics, swimming and touch rugby.  But I was most successful at basketball, representing the province of Canterbury and the NZ Koru team.

Nowadays I prefer to do cost-free activities like running, biking, and hiking around our beautiful scenic hills. I have a secret passion for organising “things”, be it kitchens, bedrooms, garages – I love taking a mess and making it look tidy.

What do you do in your spare time?

As you can tell, I enjoy being active, seeing and experiencing new places, catching up with friends at a nice cafe or eatery and travelling.  But my favourite thing to do is spend time with my family. We often have family dinners that are filled with good food, good banter, and plenty of laughs (mostly at my expense as I can be a bit of a clown).  I guess you could say I enjoy making people laugh. 

What do you like about working for Connexionz?

I like that I am learning a lot about a bunch of new things. I’m a big believer in surrounding myself with bright minds so I can learn new soft and technical skills while hopefully also adding my uniqueness to the company.

Do you have a personal philosophy?

I think my biggest personal philosophy is treating people the way I’d want to be treated and meeting them where they’re at. I try to foster this culture wherever I go as I believe you get the best out of people when they feel cared about and respected.

Thanks, Danielle.  We’ll feature another of our Connexionz team in our next issue.


Related Articles:

New Employee Highlight: Paul Stevens

Connexionz transit technology sees fast growth in sales and operations

August 20th, 2021

With increasing sales, smarter transit solutions provider, Connexionz ( has opened a new sales and marketing office in the heart of tech friendly Denver, Colorado. The 2nd US office for Connexionz will host a growing team of dedicated business development staff.

Connexionz US Sales Director, Brian Garrett, says the business growth has been driven by numerous competitive wins in recent months, plus existing clients purchasing additional product options/features, and recommitments from clients for service and maintenance on current bus technology systems.

“It’s been a very busy and productive 2021 for us so far, with new systems being installed in California, Wisconsin, Washington, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oregon, and Puerto Rico,” Garrett says.

The company has increased sales staff threefold while also expanding its project management, support, and vehicle technician teams.

He says among the company’s recent wins in the deployment of tracking and dispatch system for a 35-vehicle transit agency in the City of Racine, Wisconsin. “Racine is an exciting win for us, partly because the competition was so robust, but we also knew that our established CAD/AVL and tracking technology and experience integrating with Automatic Passenger Counting (APC) systems would make a real difference for both Racine’s transit team and the passengers they serve, “Garrett says.

Also new to the Connexionz portfolio is a project designed to enable Vallejo (CA) based transit agency, SolTrans, to undertake ‘platform loading’, a process that requires a highly accurate solution.  SolTrans, an agency with nearly 60 fleet vehicles completes over 1.4 million passenger trips per year.

The company selected Connexionz from among seven competitors, saying they know of only one other company providing anything like the Connexionz platform loading system.  “We’ve done this specific kind of dynamic transit center work before so were well placed to develop and implement the kind of specific innovative solutions SolTrans required,” Garrett says.

Connexionz continues to increase bandwidth while bidding on important integrated transportation technology projects that improve lives for millions of public transit riders across the globe.

iTransitNW regional real-time passenger information network continues to see popularity among rural transit providers

In 2018, Valley Transit management in Walla Walla Washington began a project procuring a real-time technology system which was regional in nature and collaborative in design. After a highly competitive process, Connexionz was selected to develop the iTransitNW system. The initial system managed and supported seven partner agency fleets, with potential to scale and link up to 18 separate transport operators across Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Interest in the regional system continues to grow. In the last year, Connexionz has welcomed cooperative purchases off the contract from Grant County Oregon (People Mover), City of Pendleton, Asotin County PTBA & Lewiston Transit System, and Kayak Public Transit; each launching their own system in early 2021.

Angie Peters, Valley Transit General Manager says, “Prior to the iTransitNW project there was not a comprehensive resource for any potential passenger to use to plan trips or discover services in nearby towns. The regional system has made a difference in helping passengers understand available services and connections. This technology is extremely impactful in rural areas where service frequency is lower.”

“The cooperative purchase contract which continues to see popularity in the region has been very simple to buy in to due to the range of products and services available for purchase.”

Brian Garrett, Connexionz Sales Director says: “The benefit for rural agencies is the appeal of purchasing into an ecosystem that is already in place. There are numerous options available to member agencies such as static GTFS integration onto the portal or a complete implementation featuring APC, AVA, and multimedia. The state transit departments have indeed been supportive of funding projects under this contract which has proven to economically deliver the latest transit technology solutions to rural agencies.”

Connexionz looks forward to continuing their effort to grow the iTransitNW project. Angie Peters added, “Connexionz is committed to being a good partner, and we have definitely seen growth over our relationship.”

Connexionz network continues to expand with successful agency launches and sustained growth


Connexionz has proven to its customers that it is a leading and capable provider of intelligent transit solutions for essential passenger communication, real-time bus load management, and service monitoring, even during the tough pandemic economy. In the last 14 months, Connexionz has launched 6 new systems for small and medium transit agencies.  Among those agencies are Yamhill County, Oregon and Stanislaus County, California.

For Yamhill County Transit, Connexionz delivered an economical approach for a real-time system: Software for vehicle operators along with fixed route management software for the dispatch office, deployed onto tablets already owned by the agency. Yamhill purchased the system for a capital expense of less than US$100k for nearly 20 buses and launched in late 2019.  Although Yamhill’s initial purchase was small, they are growing the system by adding integrated ADA compliant automatic annunciation systems and engine diagnostics to new buses being delivered by Complete Coach Works in early 2021. 

Cynthia Thompson, manager for Yamhill County Transit says, “We were really pleased at the speed of which Connexionz was able to deliver the real-time and dispatch system for our agency.  Connexionz listened to our needs in relation to providing our own hardware.  This has allowed us to deploy a system at a great value while having local hardware support and quick swap spare units.” Cynthia says, “the Connexionz system has been fantastic and an outstanding tool for customers.  It increases customers’ sense of YCT as a reliable and dependable service.”

A much larger scope of technology was successfully delivered in March 2020 to Stanislaus Regional Transit in California.  START were provided a fully integrated intelligent transit system across nearly 50 fleet vehicles, including real-time systems, dispatch software, multimedia content, and automatic passenger counting alongside partners Urban Transit Association, which provides full NTD data support. Connexionz delivered this system nearly four months ahead of scheduleStanislaus Transit Manager Letti Ortiz shared her feedback on the solution’s effectiveness for their operations, saying “The system has been really useful for passenger engagement, whereby now passengers are utilizing SMS systems for accurate arrival times. It has saved our customers time.  The onboard multimedia systems have been very helpful because they are keeping passengers informed and meeting Title VI requirements without the clutter of physical flyers or posters inside the bus.  We’re happy with the Connexionz systems and the quick deployment and dedicated support we continue to receive.”

These successful projects, along with the company’s enduring service and maintenance programs, enabled Connexionz to grow its operation in the United States by bringing on board a new Operations and Project Manager and securing a lease on a larger office space in Santa Clarita, CA. Griffin Lauerman joined Connexionz in June 2020 with a strong background in Project Management. Griffin has hit the ground running with Connexionz, developing good relationships with the team and customers, and taking on management of a major project delivery in the Tennessee region.  

Connexionz Smart Transit systems will continue to provide mission critical services to essential transit operations during this difficult time.  “Now, more than ever, transit technology services which connect riders and agencies are necessary.  With buses running at lower capacities, technologies like Connexionz Real-Time load monitor allow agencies to adhere to local restrictions and keep serving riders who depend on them,” Said Brian Garrett, US Sales Director.  “Even with ridership down, we’re seeing a resurgence of agencies who are taking time to invest in these types of technologies, holding out faith that we can eventually get our people back on the bus.  Connexionz is happy to remain focused on serving small and medium agencies, as we always have”.

New Employee Highlight: Paul Stevens

Connectionz is proud to welcome Paul Stevens to the team. Learn more about him through the quick interview below.

Professional and academic experience:

Armed with a Diploma of Photojournalism I headed into an early background of developing an automated chemical processing plant, through to owning and running a software company over many years. My solution was implemented around the world and is still in use today.

Focus at Connexionz:

My main focus initially is to create an environment which will allow Connexionz to design and develop the next generation of intelligent transport solutions.

Why you are happy to be with the team:

We have a great team of people that are passionate about the technology space we are in. Moving between software, firmware, and hardware takes me back to the early days of my career – Great memories!

Share some of your hobbies and any personal tidbits:

I became the youngest qualified referee in England at the age of 12. Later on, in my teens, I represented Hong Kong at 2 Golf World Championships. Following on from that we emigrated to New Zealand where I found the world of endurance adventures. Be that running 100 miles over mountains or being by myself and finding unmarked tracks in the Southern Alps then climbing to the high point and skiing back down.

What does ‘mobility’ mean to you?:

The ability to move or be moved freely and easily.

Pasadena Transit Grows with Investment in CNX’ Innovative Technology

Pasadena Transit (PT) called on Connexionz to install the first stage of Intelligent Transit Systems (ITS) in 2014 and continues to grow with consistent investment in Connexionz Smart Transit Technology. PT delivers more than 1.5 million passengers to local destinations annually, and also connects them with light rail stations and regional coach services that carry them into the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, or beyond. 

Connexionz’ innovative technology allows Pasadena Transit to supply passengers with real-time information through: 

  • Smartphone Apps
  • Onboard Displays
  • Solar BusFinders at Stops
  • Roadside Signs
  • Automatic Arrival Announcements

Not only can passengers easily find arrival times for their expected bus on an easy-to-read E-ink bus-stop display but they can also search for linking services on LA Metro routes – all while the branded display promotes the agency. 

The transit agency’s dispatch and management departments receive accurate, continuously-updated data about:

  • Travel Times
  • Vehicle Location
  • Mechanical Performance
  • Automatic Passenger Counts
  • Security Surveillance

In fact, Pasadena Transit and its passengers have enjoyed a 13% improvement in on-time performance and experienced increased ridership year-on-year since 2013. It is no surprise that Pasadena Transit has selected Connexionz a third time to continue growing its ITS.

“The Connexionz’ system has fundamentally and positively altered our day-to-day observations and how we do business.”

-Pasadena Transit Manager Valerie Gibson

Connexionz will also play a significant role in a visionary plan to improve traffic flow throughout the greater Los Angeles region. The agency’s buses will soon be able to request traffic-signal priority, such as an early green light or to extend a green signal, giving their bus smooth passage through intersections to shorten peak travel times and improve ETAs. Connexionz is proud to be a part of a project that improves Pasadena Transit’s service as it reduces the number of polluting vehicles on the road. 

The Pasadena contract, first procured in 2014, has received yet another approval to expand it to include more technology.  In addition to the aforementioned traffic signal priority, Pasadena is investing in new fixed-route vehicles outfitted with the latest tech, including brand new vehicle operator tablets and software, video surveillance system upgrades, and additional Busfinder devices bringing their count to over 125 units.

Ferry Services Expand from NY to CA

NYC Ferry, the hallmark Connexionz ferry client, continues to grow in scope and size while Connexionz remains focused on adding more successful operations to it’s expanding customer list.   

NYC Ferry is planning a vast expansion – doubling its fleet and adding 350 additional passenger boats to account for the expected demand of an astounding 9-million riders by 2023. Due to ever-increasing popularity, the city is preparing to invest $300 million into the service over the next few years. They also plan to add more routes and travel times to accommodate the passengers.

Early this summer, NYC ferry operators Hornblower won a contract to continue to provide ferry services to Alcatraz Island in California. Hornblower’s technologies are revolutionary  – reducing fuel consumption by 75% compared to other boats in the San Francisco area. The Hornblower Hybrid yachts are powered by wind, solar, and grid electricity and can host up to 120 guests. 

Connexionz has yet again been chosen to add to these services by providing similar technologies to the NYC operations such as GPS, passenger information, Google Transit Integration, and rider-counting. Connexionz is proud to be a crucial part of an innovative experience for ferry passengers.

New Partnership with California’s Stanislaus Transit

Connexionz is proud to welcome another California Transit agency to the team in Stanislaus Area Transit. Stanislaus Transit is the primary provider of mass transportation in the suburban areas of Stanislaus County – including Modesto and surrounding areas, across a fleet of almost 50 transit vehicles.

After a competitive bid issued in early 2019 and a rigorous selection period, Connexionz has yet again been trusted as a leading supplier of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and has been awarded up to a 2-million dollar contract. Stanislaus transit chose Connexionz due to their long history of successful implementation and trusted software solutions. With important integrations being requested under the contract, the agency selected Connexionz for their decades of experience. 

The contract, set to be implemented in early 2020, includes fixed route CAD/AVL software with a custom website and subscription service for regular riders. 

The onboard system includes: 

  • Rugged mobile data terminals
  • Emergency alarms
  • Highly accurate GPS
  • Onboard announcements
  • Visual media system that will communicate important agency information to riders

The back office software includes important automatic passenger counters and data which is meant to fuel important National Transit Database (NTD) reports.  The Automated Passenger Counter (APC) solution from Connexionz and their partners is one of the only solutions available with 100+ implementations and 100% acceptance rate from the NTD.  The remarkable performance of Connexionz’s APC solution will undoubtedly fuel the success of Stansilaus for years to come.

Connexionz remains focused on improving the passenger experience so that more people continue to choose public transit. With a smartphone in nearly everyone’s pocket, Connexionz innovative apps provide real-time public transportation routes and schedules integrated directly into the riders’ hands. Connexionz is also implementing new technologies to improve overall transit times for pick-up and arrival, such as traffic-signal priority for busses. Improving experience and accessibility makes these transportation solutions a convenient and appealing choice for the public. 

The Stanislaus transit contract original term is 5 years with options to extend.  Connexionz is excited at the opportunity to add to our growing family of California based transit agencies.

Significant attendance at Smart City Tech Event

Our Christchurch, New Zealand staff have reported as being ‘amazed’ at the level of interest in Connexionz’s products and services during the city’s Smart City Innovation Expo, which forms part of the week long Tech Expo in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Kate Foister, customer service manager at Connexionz reports, “People from all over the country came to see us to learn about ways in which we may be able to help with our sensor based services and data analysis, as well as our range of solar powered information displays. We were rushed off our feet!”

Connexionz has been working with Christchurch City Council’s Smart City team, including providing real time data feeds currently in use by the city’s brilliant web application which can be accessed here:

To learn more about how Connexionz may be able to assist you with your smart city or real time projects, please feel free to contact us.