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Start-ups partner with NY transport agencies on accessibility, congestion and revenue

After an eight-week demo period, successful start-ups will move on to a formal pilot project.


The Transit Tech Lab has selected nine start-ups to trial technologies that could improve accessibility, revenue generation and traffic congestion in New York.


These include a tool which converts audio public address announcements into personalised targeted messages for the deaf, and hard of hearing and an analytics solution to incentivise people to use public transport.


The Transit Tech Lab is part of the public-private Transit Innovation Partnership, a collaboration between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which operates the New York City Subway and bus routes, and other agencies. Participating organisations in this year’s accelerator programme include Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York City Department of Transportation, NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak.


Last year six companies were selected for the accelerator programme and four proceeded to pilots upon completion.


More than 130 companies applied to be part of this year’s programme, focused on making New York’s public transit systems more accessible; helping public transit agencies generate new revenues; and supporting transit agencies to reduce traffic by increasing coordination at the kerb.


Scaling up


The chosen nine are now partnering with NYC-area transit agencies for eight weeks to demonstrate their solutions. Companies that successfully prove their concept accelerator will move on to a formal pilot project that deploys their technology for testing in one or more participating transit systems.


Last year six companies were selected for the accelerator programme and four proceeded to pilots upon completion.


“We are thrilled by the response to the 2020 Transit Tech Lab challenges in accessibility, kerb coordination and revenue generation and look forward to the value these innovations will bring to customers. It is a testament to the MTA’s leadership and the tech sector’s dedication that this year nearly all of the region’s largest transit agencies have signed on as partners,” said Rachel Haot, executive director of the Transit Innovation Partnership.


The start-ups are:

  • Acoustic Protocol: Converts audio public address announcements into personalised, targeted messages to improve accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing customers.
  • NaviLens: Uses a computer vision algorithm that interprets geospatial information and provides navigation guidance in any space without use of GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cell coverage.
  • Okeenea: Smartphone app that provides transit system navigation for customers who are blind/low vision or deaf/hard of hearing.
  • Knaq: Provides predictive elevator and escalator maintenance tools enabling any service elevator to be digitised and its status instantly updated online.
  • Allvision IO: Inventories kerb infrastructure and monitors street parking behaviour of both commercial and non-commercial vehicles.
  • CARMERA: Provides up-to-the-minute construction data and descriptions, such as obstructions in parking spots or traffic lanes.
  • CurbFlow: Marketplace for kerb-side access that sources dedicated kerb supply from municipalities to create pickup and drop-off management and maps.
  • Numina: Measures kerb-level behaviours using a proprietary, camera-based sensor that mounts to any fixed infrastructure, Numina processes all imagery onboard the sensor, anonymously measures activity and provides behavioural insights to improve traffic operations.
  • Miles: Provides anonymised multimodal analytics to cities and offers mileage-based rewards to users encouraging public transit use.

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