Apply by December 4, 2019 for a chance to pilot technologies with the MTA, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak

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The Transit Tech Lab – an innovation and technology accelerator project designed to use private sector expertise to help modernize the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and now other transit agencies as well – is reminding potential applicants that tomorrow is the deadline for its latest initiative.

Applicants to this year’s Transit Tech Lab, which takes selected startups from pitch to pilot in less than six months, get the opportunity to partner with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak in addition to the MTA, the Lab’s founding agency.  Last year’s Transit Tech Lab focused on the MTA only.  This year’s expanded partnership supports a more unified approach to introducing transit innovation.

“The MTA is proud to be a founding participant in this innovative program and we can’t wait to see what this next round of applicants brings to our customers,” said Patrick J. Foye, Chairman and CEO of the MTA.  “The MTA is laser-focused on modernizing and using the best practices available from the tech industry to bring better, world-class service to New Yorkers.”

“With six agencies participating in this year’s Transit Tech Lab, the message to innovators is clear,” said Rachel Haot, Executive Director of the Transit Innovation Partnership. “New York’s public transit operators are invested in attracting the most innovative companies from around the globe to make our city the leader in mobility.”

“The Port Authority is committed to upgrading its facilities to 21st century global standards. We’re excited to join Transit Tech Lab in its second year. With the Lab’s assistance, we seek to utilize private-sector innovation and cutting-edge solutions to improve accessibility and reduce traffic and curbside congestion at our airports,” said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“The Taxi and Limousine Commission looks forward to building on our efforts to reduce congestion by working with the Transit Tech Lab on solutions that can reduce traffic and improve the lives of drivers, passengers and all New Yorkers,” said Jeff Garber, Director of Technology and Innovation for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

“DOT is excited to be a part of this year’s Transit Tech Lab,” said New York City DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “In the rapidly evolving transportation field, we are seeing extraordinary technological advancements in transportation. With growing demands for street space from multiple road users on New York City’s streets, we look forward to seeing the creative and innovative ways in which participants can help DOT improve curb management and keep New Yorkers moving.”

Together, the agencies have selected three challenges that impact their operations and are calling on the tech community for products that improve accessibility, enhance traffic coordination, or create new sources of revenues:

Accessibility: How can we make New York’s public transit system more accessible? 

Today, New York’s transit system can be challenging for disabled customers: only 25% of subway stations are wheelchair accessible and information is often communicated exclusively via visual signage or audio announcements. As reflected by the 2020-2024 Capital Program, the MTA is committed to improving accessibility for all. With this Transit Tech Lab challenge, the MTA is seeking technology that can enhance accessibility to better serve customers with special needs, including those with auditory, visual, mobility and mental impairments, the elderly and child caregivers. Potential technology includes wayfinding, mapping and Augmented Reality tools.  

Entrepreneurial Revenue Generation: How can public transit generate more revenue outside the farebox? 

Increasing recurring entrepreneurial revenue for public transit would make transportation agencies less dependent on fares, taxes and bonds and enable transit agencies to invest more in maintenance, operations and service. This Transit Tech Lab challenge seeks solutions that will enable the transit operators to capitalize on entrepreneurial opportunities, deriving more value from their expansive assets. Opportunities include digital marketplaces for assets, customer loyalty programs and digital retail.    

Traffic Coordination: How can transit agencies reduce traffic by increasing coordination at the curb? 

Record traffic in New York City costs $20 billion annually in lost productivity and excess costs. The Transit Tech Lab seeks solutions to coordinating traffic at the curb among passenger cars, for-hire vehicles, public buses, commercial trucks, tour buses, bicycles and pedestrians. Potential opportunities include dynamic pricing for parking, real-time mapping and reservations and last-mile freight distribution networks.  

Experts from public agencies, academia and business will evaluate submissions and select the most compelling companies to participate in an eight-week accelerator. Companies that are able to demonstrate potential to solve one of the problems targeted by the MTA or another agency, will move on to a formal pilot project that deploys their product for testing in a participating transit system.

The program is part of the Transit Innovation Partnership that was established by the MTA and the Partnership for New York City, a business organization, in 2018 to support Governor Cuomo’s plans to bring New York’s mass transit system into the 21st Century. It is run by Rachel Haot, former Chief Digital Officer of New York City and State.


The Transit Innovation Partnership is a public-private initiative created by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Partnership for New York City with the mission to make New York the global leader in public transit. An advisory board of leaders from academia, business, civic organizations and government guides the Transit Innovation Partnership, which brings together diverse stakeholders to realize public-private programs that improve public transportation through technology and process innovation. Learn more at