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New York's MTA tests high-tech solutions for subway and buses

The goal of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Transit Tech Lab accelerator programme is to establish the city as the centre of innovation for mobility and public transit.

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Technology implemented will address key subway and bus challenges
Technology implemented will address key subway and bus challenges

New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has chosen four companies from its accelerator programme to begin pilots that address key subway and bus challenges in the city.

 

The companies will advance to a year-long pilot with the MTA to test innovative mobility solutions for the city’s buses and subways as part of the Transit Tech Lab.

 

Centre of innovation

 

The goal of the Transit Tech Lab is to establish New York City as the centre of innovation for mobility, particularly as it relates to public transit.

 

“As the MTA experiences a period of historic reform, transformation, and innovation, we’re leveraging this new model for evaluating and introducing technologies that address some of our most critical challenges. The result is an inaugural Transit Tech Lab that far surpassed our expectations,” said Patrick Foye, chairman and CEO of the MTA.

 

“We are eager to develop these mobility technologies over the next year to improve subway and bus service for riders across New York City.”

 

Following a global competition in 2018, in which nearly 100 companies participated, six finalists were selected for the inaugural class of the Transit Tech Lab. Over eight weeks, the companies worked closely with New York City Transit and MTA personnel to test how their products could improve service and customer communications.

“We are eager to develop these mobility technologies over the next year to improve subway and bus service for riders across New York City”

Two companies will advance to the pilot phase for the subway challenge:

  • Axon Vibe: provides smartphone app technology that enables public transport operators to deliver personalised communications based on users’ commuting behaviour. If service is changed, MTA can proactively notify the impacted users (taking into consideration their location and context) and provide alternative transportation suggestions based on rider’s anticipated destination and commuting preferences;
  • Veovo: instantly measures the number of passengers moving through a subway station to identify crowding and make service more efficient. The MTA can use this information to improve the deployment of staff to stations, change train distribution and plan more efficient station design.

Two companies will advance to the pilot phase for the bus challenge:

  • Preteckt: studies vehicle data from buses to predict system failures at least 48 hours before the Check Engine light is activated and the bus must be removed from service. Preteckt’s insights have the potential to reduce time spent on maintenance, prevent service disruptions and reduce fleet costs.
  • Remix: provides software for designing transit systems that enables MTA planners to more quickly and efficiently produce the bus network redesign outlined in the Fast Forward NYC Plan. To ensure equitable access and support public engagement, Remix’s technology uses public demographic data and generates easy-to-understand transit maps for community feedback.

“Thanks to the leadership of the MTA and the ingenuity of Transit Tech Lab finalists, New York City’s transit riders will benefit from mobility technologies designed to improve operations and customer service,” added Natalia Quintero, director of the Transit Tech Lab.

 

Digital leadership

 

The Transit Tech Lab is managed by the non-profit Transit Innovation Partnership, led by Rachel Haot, previously the first chief digital officer for New York City and the first chief digital officer for New York state, and the Partnership Fund for New York City, led by Maria Gotsch.

 

It is modelled after the FinTech Innovation Lab that the Partnership Fund has run for the past nine years which played a critical role in establishing New York City as a hub for the global financial technology industry.

 

The Partnership for New York City represents the city’s business leaders and largest employers. Through the Partnership Fund for New York City, the partnership contributes directly to projects that create jobs, improve economically distressed communities and stimulate new business creation.

 

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