UTA has been in existence since 1981 when it was formed by two individuals (R.K. Armstrong, T.W. Kowalski) who had formerly served as research engineers with General Motors ‑ Transportation System Division. During their tenure with GM‑TSD from 1976 ‑ 1981, an operational Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system was developed that included an Automatic Passenger Counting (APC) sub‑system. When General Motors disbanded the Transportation Systems Division in 1981, and decided not to participate in the transit AVL/APC marketplace, General Motors sold the product rights to the APC sub‑system to the newly formed UTA.
Based on the AVL/APC cost/benefit analyses, UTA recognized that significant value in the areas of reduced data collection costs and improved transit service quality and productivity would be gained by applying the APC technology in the transit marketplace. Using the purchased APC inventory from General Motors and a small amount of start‑up capital, UTA was able to provide APC capability to small and medium‑sized Midwestern transit systems during the 1980's. It was from these initial APC deployments that UTA recognized that successful APC implementation resulted from not only providing a reliable set of APC technology (hardware/software) but also developing a close working relationship with the transit APC users in order to assure the APC‑generated information was producing the expected benefits.
As an entrepreneurial start‑up engaged in applying technology within the transit industry, and surviving/prospering after more than twenty years in the ITS marketplace; UTA is most unlike the current set of firms populating the transit ITS marketplace.