July 12, 2022

Sustainability & Recovery Challenge Finalists Present Proof-of-Concept Results

At the start of 2022 the Transit Tech Lab launched the Sustainability and Recovery Challenges, soliciting innovative solutions to help the New York metro-region meet environmental sustainability objectives and restore confidence in public transit. The program received nearly 150 applications from companies around the world and worked with subject matter experts to select ten compelling technologies to kick off proofs-of-concept in May.

Companies worked closely with transportation agencies in New York and New Jersey over the course of eight weeks, offering solutions that range from artificial intelligence to hardware that can flag unexpected flooding conditions before they impact commuters.

Each company presents an opportunity to improve the public transportation experience for millions of people in the metro area.

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June 30, 2022

MTA Testing Tech to Modernize Signal System

Solutions Aim to Reduce Subway Running Times and Improve Reliability

Today, the Transit Tech Lab announced that four companies were selected as finalists in its Signaling Challenge, a global competition calling for technologies that will help modernize New York City’s aging subway signaling system quickly and cost-effectively. The challenge seeks to increase subway capacity, efficiency and reliability by enabling trains to run closer together. The four finalists, selected from nearly 60 applications, are testing solutions that utilize emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, LiDAR and communication-based train control (CBTC) across the New York City Transit subway system. 

The Transit Tech Lab is part of the Transit Innovation Partnership, a public-private initiative created by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Partnership for New York City.

Modernizing New York City’s aging signaling system will enable the MTA to run more trains, improving the customer experience for millions of people traveling within the five boroughs. The selected companies began tests in January 2022 and will present proof-of-concept results by the end of the summer.

The Signaling Challenge finalists are:

Company: 4AI Systems (New York, NY)
Technology: Using on-train artificial intelligence system to detect infrastructure, obstacles and wayside objects. The technology supports train operators in identifying obstructions, track intrusion, and equipment in need of repair.

Company: Alstom (West Henrietta, NY)
Technology: Using Urbalis, their latest technology, to enable faster communication between trains and bi-directional train movement. The product has a simplified, train-to-train architecture that eliminates the need of wayside equipment, reduces installation times, improves operational headway and speed, and lowers life cycle costs.

Company: Luminar (Orlando, FL)
Technology: Using long-range LiDAR technology coupled with perception software from their partner, Seoul Robotics, to accurately position a train underground, including areas where GPS traditionally fails. The product provides accurate arrival and departure data and can be further trained to detect hazards and structural damage on the tracks.

Company: Ouster (San Francisco, CA) in partnership with Lux Modus (Calgary, Canada)
Technology: Using digital LiDAR sensors to collect millions of high-resolution 3D geospatial data points on a Track Geometry Car. The technology provides a digital twin and detects structural damage, infrastructure decay and foreign objects on the tracks.

NYC Transit President Richard Davey said, “Increasing reliability is paramount to improving the customer experience and bringing more people back to the subway. This diverse group of pilot programs provides a variety of solutions towards achieving this goal, and we look forward to seeing the results.”

Natalia Quintero, Senior Vice President of Innovation at the Partnership for New York City said, “New York’s transit system is in the midst of tremendous transformation, and we are delighted to be helping accelerate the pace of positive change. With visionary leadership at the helm of the MTA and cutting-edge technology, New York City is well positioned to build the transit system New Yorkers deserve.”

About the Transit Tech Lab

The Tech Lab program is part of the Transit Innovation Partnership, which yielded the award-winning MTA Live Subway Map and was established by the MTA and the Partnership for New York City to bring private sector innovation to improve public transit. 

Since 2018, the program has put the New York metropolitan region at the forefront of transit innovation, which promises to support the modernization of public transit and to transform the customer experience. Winners of previous competitions include Remix, a collaborative digital platform used to redesign the bus routes, and Axon Vibe, which built the Essential Connector smartphone app to help essential workers plan journeys during overnight subway disinfection closures. 

May 24, 2022

Regional Transportation Agencies Pilot Innovative Tech to Restore Confidence in Public Transit and Meet Clean Energy Goals

Today, the Transit Tech Lab announced ten finalists for the COVID-19 Recovery and Environmental Sustainability challenges, a global competition calling for technologies to improve public transit safety and meet clean energy objectives. Selected from nearly 150 applicants, the ten finalists’ solutions will use emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision and LiDAR to improve the public transportation experience for millions of people in the tri-state area.

The companies chosen will test their solutions over an 8-week period with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and NJ TRANSIT.

The first COVID-19 Response Challenge was launched by the MTA and Transit Innovation Partnership in 2020 and led to eight productive collaborations with the MTA, the Port Authority and NJ TRANSIT. The call for applications for this year’s COVID-19 Recovery and Environmental Sustainability challenges launched in January 2022, with the goal of ensuring customers and employees feel safe, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making transit more responsive to the needs of New Yorkers.  

The 2022 COVID-19 Recovery finalists are:

Company: Blyncsy (Salt Lake City, UT)
Technology: Catalogues roadway infrastructure and conditions, including pavement markings, obstacles, and roadway deterioration to facilitate maintenance. 
Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ, NJT

Company: Clarifai (New York, NY)
Technology: Uses machine learning and computer vision software to identify track intrusions, unsafe behavior in stations, and passenger flows.
Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ, NYCT

Company: Invision AI, Inc. (Toronto, Canada)
Technology: Uses existing cameras and AI vision systems to create real-time 3D digital twin of transit stations.
Primary Partner Agency: NJT

Company: Quanergy (Sunnyvale, CA)
Technology: Uses LiDAR hardware paired with analytic software to provide a digital twin of any space. The digital twin can report unsafe behavior, offers object detection and passenger flows.
Primary Partner Agency: NYCT, MNR 

Company: Zensors Inc. (San Fransisco, CA)
Technology: Uses artificial intelligence to capture actionable data from existing hardware and cameras to provide operations visibility and address problems that range from overcrowding to fare evasion.
Primary Partner Agency: NYCT, MNR

The Environmental Sustainability finalists are:

Company: Gridmatrix (San Francisco, CA)
Technology: Uses software to interpret video footage on roads, enabling agencies to understand traffic patterns, unsafe intersections, and emissions.
Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ

Company: Microgrid Labs Inc. (Boulder, CO)
Technology: Enables planning for a fast, smooth and cost-effective transition to electric fleets through SaaS-based modeling, simulation, and optimization software, EVOPT.
Primary Partner Agency:
NJT 

Company: Runwise Inc. (New York, NY)
Technology: Uses wireless technology and web based software to operate heating and water systems more efficiently and help cut utility costs. 
Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ, MNR 

Company: StormSensor (Seattle, WA)
Technology: Provides cost-effective stormwater/climate-data and analytics to prevent flooding, simplify monitoring, and streamline maintenance and response.
Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ, MNR, NJT 

Company: The Mobility House (Belmont, California)
Technology: Enables intelligent integration of electric vehicles with the grid while minimizing charging costs.
Primary Partner Agency: NYCT 

Natalia Quintero, Senior Vice President of Innovation at the Partnership for New York City, said, “Public transit is the backbone of the tri-state economy, and its efficacy, safety and resilience are of paramount importance. The Transit Tech Lab is committed to providing cutting edge tools to restore riders’ confidence and support a sustainable future. Previous winners have deployed tools that improve service and the customer experience. We look forward to seeing the results of this year’s program.”

Michael Wojnar, Senior Advisor for Innovation and Policy at the MTA, said, “Partnering with the Transit Tech Lab finalists gives the MTA the opportunity to evaluate innovative approaches to MTA’s top priorities and challenges as laid out by the Chair earlier this year. Limiting track intrusion, increasing safety in stations, building more resilient infrastructure, and improving the efficiency of electric vehicle charging will be important issues for the MTA in 2022 and for years to come. We are excited to see what these firms have to offer, and we thank the Transit Tech Lab for introducing them to us.”

Robert Galvin, Chief Technology Officer at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said, “We are thrilled to once again be partnering with Transit Tech Lab to test out innovative and sustainable technology across our facilities. As the first transportation agency to embrace the 2018 Paris Climate agreement and the first to commit to net zero emissions by 2050, we are eager to work with these finalists to pilot new technologies that will not only enhance travel for our customers, but will help to modernize our infrastructure processes and contribute to our overall environmental goals.” 

Lookman Fazal, Chief of Information & Digital Technology at NJ TRANSIT, said, “NJ TRANSIT is proud of our continued partnership with the Transit Tech Lab and we are excited to work with these finalist teams to harness innovations and cutting-edge technologies from the private sector. We are always looking to leverage the newest technologies to improve safety, service and the customer experience.”  

About the Transit Tech Lab

The Tech Lab program is part of the Transit Innovation Partnership, which yielded the award-winning MTA Live Subway Map and was established by the MTA and the Partnership for New York City to bring private sector innovation to improve public transit. 

Since 2018, the program has put the New York metropolitan region at the forefront of transit innovation, which promises to support the modernization of public transit and to transform the customer experience. Winners of previous competitions include Remix, a collaborative digital platform used to redesign the bus routes, and Axon Vibe, which built the Essential Connector smartphone app to help essential workers plan journeys during overnight subway disinfection closures. 

January 31, 2022

Regional Transportation Agencies Launch Tech Competition for COVID-19 Recovery and Environmental Sustainability

Applications open for Transit Tech Lab’s Recovery and Sustainability challenges with MTA, Port Authority, NJ TRANSIT and NYC DOT 

(New York, NY) – Today, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ TRANSIT, NYC Department of Transportation and the Partnership for New York City announced the fourth round of the Transit Tech Lab calling for technologies to aid in these agencies’ pandemic recovery and to meet sustainability objectives. 

Agencies are seeking solutions that restore customer confidence in public transportation, improve resilience to weather extremes, and further reduce the region’s carbon footprint, including new tools that better predict travel patterns, identify extreme weather impacts in real time, and support clean and efficient freight deliveries.

Applications for the Recovery Challenge and Sustainability Challenge are due March 25 and are accessible at: http://transittechlab.org/

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January 12, 2022

MTA and Port Authority Deploy High-Tech Solutions to Enhance Cleaning, Predict Bus Capacity Levels, and Study E-Bike and Scooter Integration

After Successful Proof of Concepts, Three Innovative Companies Selected to Scale Pilots Across MTA and Port Authority Networks

(New York, NY) -- Today, the Transit Tech Lab – a public-private initiative created by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Partnership for New York City to bring private sector innovation to improve public transit – announced three winners of the COVID-19 Response Challenge who will implement high-tech solutions across the MTA and the Port Authority for New York & New Jersey.

The Challenge was launched in response to the pandemic and fielded over 200 global applicants. The companies selected showed promising results after a 12-week proof of concept and will scale their solutions across their respective partner agencies.

Solutions include an innovative disinfectant colorant for facilities, a software tool that optimizes bus performance, and a micro-mobility company that will study how e-bikes and scooters could be safely integrated into mass transit. This effort builds upon the agencies’ unprecedented efforts to enhance cleaning and improve service as riders return.

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March 24, 2021

How tech has helped transit systems roll with the pandemic

Transit systems nationwide are exploring technological advancements as they continue to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What’s been most exciting is building partnerships within and beyond the big agencies,” said Natalia Quintero, the new senior vice president of innovation at the Partnership for New York City. She is responsible for leading the Transit Innovation Partnershipwith the Metropolitan Transportation Authority other regional agencies, and developing other related public-private initiatives.

Under the TIP’s three-year-old Transit Tech Lab accelerator program, of which Quintero was founding director, companies have the opportunity to pilot their technologies with the MTA.

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February 12, 2021

Transit Innovates Amid a Pandemic: 2020 in Review

Public transit has played a critical role in the transport of essential workers throughout the pandemic — and it will be critical to New York’s recovery.

In 2020 the Transit Innovation Partnership partnered with the MTA, Port Authority, NYC DOT and NJ TRANSIT to make transit safer and empower customers.

In July 2020 our Transit Tech Lab introduced the COVID-19 Response Challenge in partnership with five regional transit agencies, drawing nearly 200 submissions in the competition. From October to December, transit agencies completed proofs of concept with eight of the most promising technologies, ranging from air filtration to micromobility integration. In 2021, transit agencies will select the most promising technologies for yearlong pilots.

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January 20, 2021

Curb & Accessibility Challenge Finalists Present Proof of Concept Results

In the spring of 2020, the Transit Tech Lab completed the second annual transit innovation program. Through the pandemic, eight companies worked closely with agencies across New York and New Jersey, to offer solutions that have the potential to improve accessibility or traffic congestion for millions of daily travelers.

During this unprecedented time, the lab remained committed to supporting transit agencies and front-line workers.

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December 18, 2020

Update on COVID-19 Response Challenge

In late October of 2020, eight companies were selected from nearly 200 global applicants to implement their innovative tools to create a healthier transit network as part of the Transit Tech Lab’s COVID-19 Response Challenge. Over eight weeks these companies worked with the MTA, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and NJ TRANSIT on proofs of concepts that showed promising results. Solutions range from micromobility and improved air filtration to new cleaning solutions for facilities, buses and subway cars. Learn about their progress below

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October 27, 2020

Companies Selected to Bring High-Tech COVID Solutions, Including Air Purification and Crowd Monitoring, to New York Metro Public Transit

Transit Innovation Partnership Connecting Eight Innovative Companies with MTA, Port Authority, NJ TRANSIT and NYC DOE to Enhance Health and Safety of Transit Network

See the Online Showcase

The Transit Innovation Partnership and partner agencies Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ TRANSIT and NYC Dept. of Education today announced eight finalists for the COVID-19 Response Challenge, a global competition calling for technologies to increase public transit safety and responsiveness in the midst of the pandemic. Selected out of nearly 200 applicants, the eight companies will now implement their innovative solutions across the NYC-area agencies for rapid evaluation. If successful, companies may be chosen for a year-long pilot to deploy their tools at scale.

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