July 30, 2019

MTA Announces Plan to Test Innovative Solutions to Bus and Subway Challenges

Four Companies Chosen for MTA Pilot Projects through the Transit Tech Lab

Press Conference Streamed Live at youtube.com/MTAinfo

NEW YORK, July 30, 2019 – At a press conference today, leadership from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Partnership for New York City jointly announced the successful completion of the Transit Tech Lab, an accelerator program that enables tech companies to test and introduce new products designed to improve transit services. Starting today, four of the six companies graduating from the accelerator will begin pilots with the MTA to implement products that address key subway and bus challenges.

“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 & 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.”

“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,” said Natalia Quintero, Director of the Transit Tech Lab.

Following a global competition last Fall, 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.

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 personalized communications based on users’ commuting behavior. 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.  

The Transit Tech Lab is managed by the nonprofit 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 modeled after the highly successful FinTech Innovation Lab that the Partnership Fund has run for the past nine years and played a critical role in establishing New York City as a hub for the global financial technology industry. The goal of the Transit Tech Lab is to establish New York as the center of innovation for mobility, particularly as it relates to public transit.

About the Transit Innovation Partnership
The Transit Innovation Partnership is a public-private initiative formed 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. A board of leaders from academia, business, civic organizations and government guides the Transit Innovation Partnership, which brings together diverse stakeholders to realize public-private projects that improve transit performance and customer service. Focus areas include technology and process innovation in infrastructure, data, operations, customer service and revenue generation. Learn more at transitinnovation.org.

About the Partnership for New York City
The Partnership for New York City represents the city’s business leaders and largest employers. We work with government, labor and the nonprofit sector to promote economic growth and maintain the city’s prominence as a global center of commerce and innovation. 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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MEDIA CONTACTS:           

Partnership for New York City
Ashley Greenspan / agreenspan@pfnyc.org / 212-493-7511

Rubenstein Communications
Nick Bader / nbader@Rubenstein.com / 212-843-9338

May 28, 2019

Transit Tech Lab Accelerator Recap

2019 Transit Tech Lab Finalists

We launched the Transit Tech Lab to help the MTA evaluate innovative solutions to critical public transportation challenges. After receiving nearly 100 applications, judges chose six companies to take part in an 8-week intensive accelerator with the MTA that wrapped up at the end of April. 

Selected companies responded to either a subway or a bus challenge. Here’s an inside look at the results from the collaboration.

Subway Challenge

How can we better predict, prevent and lessen the burden of subway delays?

Axon Vibe's beta application offers information about train delays and accessibility insights

Axon Vibe

During the accelerator, Axon Vibe developed a smartphone app that enables customers to plan bus and subway journeys and receive personalized notifications using real-time New York City Transit data combined with anonymized location information and historical travel patterns. To support operations and customer service, Axon Vibe also explored opportunities for the MTA to message customers who regularly take certain subway and bus lines during service interruptions.

Installing sensors at the Court Street subway station


Veovo and New York City Transit employees installed sensors at the Court Street subway station during the accelerator to count the number of passengers using the station, provide data on crowding conditions and measure how long it takes customers to pass from turnstile to platform—calculations typically done manually. The data can be used to predict future passenger volumes, inform service changes and create an instantaneous warning system to mitigate overcrowding.

Bus Challenge

How can we help buses move faster and more efficiently?

Palisade Labs presents bus lane obstruction insight map by category

Palisade Labs

Palisade Labs used computer vision and machine learning to analyze 1,800 hours of bus-mounted video footage and telematics data and provide insights to the MTA. It found that the MTA’s Select Bus Service B46 buses encounter a bus-lane obstacle every 1:20 minutes, and 39% are personal vehicle. The data can be used to modify route design, make service changes and implement traffic signal priority at critical intersections.

PIPS team present bus lane obstruction video feed technology in action

PIPS Technology

With the aim of enforcing and deterring bus lane obstructions, PIPS Technology studied the viability of identifying license plates in bus lanes using existing bus hardware and cameras. Analyzing video captured by previously installed MobileView cameras on New York City Transit buses, PIPS detected license plates of 8% of stopped cars with 28% accuracy. With PIPS-produced Automatic License Plate Recognition cameras, they detected 96% of cars with 93% accuracy. PIPS attributed the results to camera differences in frame rate, focal point, video output and lens type.

Pretckt team demonstrates predictive maintenance data


During the Transit Tech Lab accelerator, Preteckt analyzed 30 days of historical vehicle telematics information from 314 buses and was able to accurately predict bus system failures two days in advance approximately 60% of the time. Preteckt’s insights can be used to increase the Mean Distance Between Failures—a critical bus metric—and reduce costs associated with fleet maintenance.

Remix trains over 50 MTA employees to use the network planning platform


Remix worked closely with bus operations planners on the Bronx Bus Network Redesign, an important part of New York City Transit’s Fast Forward NYC Plan. Remix trained 50 planners who created 186 maps in a fraction of the typical timeframe, increasing productivity and enabling them to achieve project milestones. Using Remix’s software,  planners were able to streamline internal collaboration, integrate demographic and environmental data to project the plan impacts and create mapped visualizations for public engagement.

What We Learned

The use of data to improve operations and service quickly emerged as the unifying theme of the 2019 Transit Tech Lab. Companies analyzed existing data and captured new data, integrating them to produce actionable insights that can drive improvements in performance, customer engagement, planning and maintenance. The format of the Transit Tech Lab brought together colleagues from different departments and highlighted that each technology had useful applications for a range of functions.

In the coming months, selected companies will have an opportunity to pursue a year-long pilot to operationalize their technology at the MTA. Thank you to the participating companies and MTA team leads for an outstanding job and collaboration. We look forward to a productive year ahead.

April 8, 2019

Can cameras improve city buses?

Will Automated Bus Lane Enforcement pilot cameras make a difference?

By Annie McDonough, City & State New York

Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a pilot program to improve bus lane enforcement by installing high-tech, forward-facing cameras on city buses for real-time capture of license plate and other information—and automatic ticketing—of cars that drive into dedicated bus lanes. The Automated Bus Lane Enforcement pilot cameras will be installed on 123 new buses on routes in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Read More


February 25, 2019

New York’s MTA is launching a first-of-its-kind tech accelerator to help fix its crumbling subway and slow buses

By Graham Rapier, Business Insider

The New York Subway has been in a state of emergency for more than a year.

Almost every rush hour, train service is snarled by finicky, 100-year old signals, causing dangerously crowded platforms and angering commuters. Above ground, things aren't much better: you could easily out-walk the average speed of a bus in Gotham.

Some of that might soon change, if the six companies chosen by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for a first-of-its-kind tech accelerator the agency has dubbed the "transit tech lab," are successful at the two challenges set out for them — but it won't be easy.

Over the next eight weeks, the startups will work alongside the MTA to find solutions to overcrowded platforms and ineffective bus lanes. The program's executive director, Rachel Haot, spoke exclusively to Business Insider about the accelerator, and how it could help the agency make up for some of its past technology struggles.

Read more

February 25, 2019

Transit Tech Lab Will Accelerate Regional Transit Innovation

MTA Taking National Lead in Transit Innovation

NEW YORK, February 25, 2019–The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Partnership for New York City today are jointly announcing finalists accepted to the Transit Tech Lab, an accelerator program that will allow tech companies to introduce New York’s transportation agencies to new products designed to improve transit services.

“Through the MTA’s work with the Partnership, we are dedicated to testing and implementing new technologies that will modernize and improve subway and bus service across New York City,” said Pat Foye, MTA President. “The Transit Tech Lab is one example of how the MTA is changing to embrace technology and build a culture of innovation by working with companies that are pioneers in mobility.”

Read more

January 18, 2019

La MTA adopta nuevas tecnologías para el ‘subway’ y buses

By Spectrum Noticias NY1

Este sistema de cámaras es capaz de reconocer, de inmediato, la edad y el género de las personas. El aparato también detecta el rostro y la identidad.

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January 18, 2019

Exclusive: Meet the Tech Semi-Finalists Who Could Change NYC’s Transit System

By Lydia Hu, NY1

Better, faster transit service. Isn’t that what every New Yorker wants? The MTA and the Partnership for New York City could be closer to finding the latest technological options that could potentially improve subway and bus service for New Yorkers.

Read more

November 16, 2018

10 Things You Need to Know About the Transit Tech Lab

By Natalia Quintero, Director, Transit Tech Lab

I’m thrilled to share that I have joined the Transit Tech Lab as founding director!

For years I have followed work at the intersection of technology and government. When I learned about the lab I knew it was a special opportunity to take on a big challenge and take a shot at transforming transit in New York City.

Read more

October 10, 2018

MTA Taps Techies to Help Fix Mass Transit

Accelerator program seeks companies to develop technology-based solutions for city’s bus and subway woes

By Mengqi Sun, Wall Street Journal

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is looking for companies that could help the agency improve New York City’s bus and subway service.

Read more

October 10, 2018

The MTA seeks high-tech solutions for its bus and subway crisis

‘A dire need’ for new products to fix subway delays and move buses through congested streets


New York’s subways and buses are in crisis. As it copes with cascading delays, traffic congestion, and declines in ridership, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is seeking salvation from an unlikely source: the tech sector. On Wednesday, the MTA announced the creation of “the nation’s first Transit Tech Lab,” an accelerator designed to vet new high-tech products designed to help improve the nation’s largest public transit system.

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