FAQ

Both Challenges

Would floating car data help with the bus or subway challenge (from personal cars or satnav devices)?

Absolutely—more real-time information on the movement of cars would be helpful.

Does the MTA have data on the demand at each station or numbers of people on the platform in real-time?

There is modeling that gives a decent estimate on numbers of people at different platforms, but no real-time count right now.

How much of the system is the test plan looking to cover?

It depends on the product that is intended to be piloted.

Is there an open data portal for transit?

Yes, all of NYCT's open data is available from http://web.mta.info/developers/developer-data-terms.html#data.

Are there areas outside of NYC that the MTA has responsibility to provide transit services which have low ridership levels?

This challenge is focused on New York City Transit, which only operates within the five boroughs of New York City.

What would the MTA consider as a low ridership? e.g., 0-20 passengers per hour, under 40 passengers per hour?

We do not publish statistics on ‘low ridership’ at this point as a metric. Data is available on the MTA website that details the hourly ridership data: http://web.mta.info/nyct/facts/ridership/

How do you think about measuring the effectiveness of service disruption communication?

We have undertaken extensive customer research during the development of our new MYmta app. However, we do not currently have a formal or comprehensive program to evaluate the effectiveness of communications for planned or unplanned service diversions/disruptions. We do respond to and take heed of feedback recieved via social media and through our CRM system.

If NYCT knew ahead of time that you were on the cusp of a crisis, what actions could they take?

Actions would be focused on customer service and trying to proactively warn customers of where issues might be arising to give them the opportunity to select another route or plan accordingly.

Bus Challenge

Do MTA buses have OBD ports in them?

Yes.

Roughly what percentage of bus routes would be considered low ridership?

Bus ridership data by route is available on the MTA website for public reference.

Can the MTA identify bus routes and operating times that have low rates of passengers per hour? e.g., between 0-20 or under 40?

Bus ridership data by route is available on the MTA website for public reference.

Are there times and locations such as nights, weekends and suburban areas where buses are operating at low frequency? (e.g., 60 min headways)

Yes, generally bus service on nights and weekends are scheduled for lower frequency service than weekday and peak hour service.

Do school buses and access-a-ride fleet fall under MTA or different departments?

The MTA does not manage school buses, it does manage the access-a-ride fleet

Does the MTA have a fleet of 'regular' cars used by employees?

Work crews use small trucks or vans.

What will it take to get transit agencies to prepare business plans for driverless rail operations?

This question does not appear to be within the scope of the TTL challenges.

Can you give more information on the UWB pilot?

CBTC is aided by UWB, and this tech is currently under evaluation. UWB will simplify the installation of CBTC installation.

Can you locate all buses at any one time?

GPS on all buses, transmit locations every 30 seconds with route and direction of bus—this is a public feed.

Do access-a-ride have OBD ports?

Yes.

Is the bus challenge looking to just prevent bus lane blockages or is it looking to speed up buses through new routes, as suggested in the Fast Forward Plan?

Looking for all ideas to speed up buses, it is as broad base as possible.

Is there traffic signal priority for buses?

Yes, on routes right now and will be on 5 by 0 This is done in partnership with City DOT.

What corrective measures are you able to take if you have real-time data on bus lane blockages?

Real-time there isn’t much that can be done, but hope to use the data to work with city agencies to come up with solutions/measures to counter the impact.

Can a project require interface development with the NYDOT?

We are working with NYCDOT on bus performance issues and are open to this option.

Subway Challenge

Does Wi-Fi work in every platform?

On subway, yes.

Is there a Read Me for the historical train arrival and other data?

The historical train arrival data consists of archived GTFS-realtime files; GTFS-realtime is an industry-standard data format with information available here and elsewhere on the Internet.

Has the MTA considered embracing the digital rail strategy adopted in London? If yes can you share an update.

We are aware of Network Rail's Digital Railway program, and will continue to observe its progress for lessons which may be applicable to NYCT.

Does the challenge include integration of equipment on-board subway cars to collect additional data to assist in predicting equipment failures before they occur?

MTA is keen to see all applications that address the challenge; how equipment could be onboarded would come later on in the application process.

Does the data on the countdown clocks show predictions of next subway arrivals or is it real-time data?

Clocks are driven off real-time data.

What is the expected distance that subway demos would take place on? (e.g., how much track will we be expected to pilot tech on?)

Discussions on how the pilot would be executed will happen later in the application phase, and will be a collaborative dialogue between the MTA and the applicant as to what will be feasible.

What official and unofficial channels of communication is the MTA looking to make the most of in subway challenge?

Twitter, countdown clocks, displays on subway entrances, app data, conductor announcements. We don't recommend getting stats from third-party apps.

Program Questions

I think it makes the most sense to work alongside NYC Subway Operations personnel to create a custom solution. Will the transit Tech Lab give this opportunity?

The challenge is aimed at growth-stage companies that have a proven product/technology/solution which might work in the transit environment with some refinement to fully meet New York City Transit's needs. Competitors who reach the later stages of the challenge will have a chance to interface with personnel at Transit, including operations, to refine their solutions.

Have you addressed how the end-to-end solution is going to look like? How to map out deployment across the transit system when pilot comes to a successful end? Lastly, how much emphasis or planning has been done around pushing intelligence derived from these ML technologies down to the actual edge, or train, to enable real-time predictive analysis in the event of avoiding failures and promoting a safer environment for MTA commuters.

The end-to-end solution will depend on the technologies proposed and their unique implementation plan. The structure of end-to-end deployment will be one of the areas for ongoing partnership as this challenge proceeds.

What innovations are occuring or exist in other cities that can be applied or adapted for the NYC subway or transportation in general?

It's a long list. We're hoping you can come up with new ideas.

Does the MTA have funding to implement tech post-pilot?

Successful pilots will undergo competitive process (see question above). There is funding to implement tech that demonstrate solutions to these challenges

If I am not able to attend in person, will there still be an opportunity to gain access to the event details (webinar, recording, etc.) to compete for an opportunity to bid come January 2019?

Yes. A video of the event will be posted and shared to this mailing list after November 14. The video can also be found here.

Out of the pool of candidates, will just one solution provider be selected come January?

There is no set number of candidates that will be accepted into the accelerator at this time.

Are you open to joint applications, from a consortium of companies?

Yes. Each application must come from a single company but that companies may indicate in their application if they have an agreement to partner with another company.

Does Applicant have to be U.S. corporation? Can a Canadian company apply?

Applicants from other countries can apply, but must be registered to do business in New York.

What is the application process for the Transit Tech Lab like?

On F6S—it is fairly standard, more akin to accelerator application than govt RFP.

How many companies will be selected for the Lab?

There is no pre-set desired number, the numbers selected will depend on the quality of the applications.

In best case scenario how would a pilot benefit the selected startup pilot partners?

Pilots are unpaid, and companies will retain all IP. MTA would get a license for the duration of the pilot and a period of time following the pilot. The Lab is an opportunity for companies to get their technology in front of key decision makers at the MTA and NYCT. If chosen for the accelerator, it’s a chance to refine tech for the largest transit system in North America, and there is a lot of value to pointing to experience with the MTA. The MTA wants to see improves in performance and customer service.

What are the next steps if a pilot is successful?

Post-pilot, the standard route is that the MTA will issue a competitive RFP process, but this will be case-by-case and there may be some flexibility for the MTA to negotiate a contract directly if the product is unique and there is little competition on the market. Most cases will likely result in a competitive solicitation.

What do you mean by efficient—faster or greener?

Both!

What happens in the accelerator phase?

Will start program-heavy with meetings and kick off sessions. Will include meetings with leadership and development of a plan to map what needs to be achieved. Co-working space is available if it is needed.

Contact Us

Still have questions? Contact us at news@transitinnovation.org.

 

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