November 9, 2022

MTA Veterans Ronnie Hakim and Sally Librera Join Transit Tech Lab as Executives-in-Residence

Last week, the Transit Tech Lab announced two Executives-in-Residence who will provide strategic advice to Lab participants throughout the pilot process. 

Ronnie Hakim, HNTB’s national transit and rail market sector leader, and Sally Librera, AECOM’s transit market leader for the Americas, both served in leadership positions at the MTA — North America’s largest transportation network — and have a combined 50 years of experience in public transit operations and policy. 

Through this initiative, Lab participants will gain insights on the requirements and operational issues at major public transit agencies. This personalized consultation will ensure that companies’ solutions provide value and address the needs of agencies and riders.   

Ronnie and Sally recently joined the Lab to work with the companies selected for the Recovery and Sustainability Challenge pilots. Six companies are deploying technologies to address public transit safety, track new mobility patterns, and support clean energy goals for the MTA, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and NJ Transit. 

Please join us in welcoming Ronnie and Sally to the Lab family and stay tuned for next year’s challenge announcement!

Ronnie Hakim

Ronnie Hakim is HNTB’s national transit and rail market sector leader. Based in HNTB’s New York City office, she is responsible for collaborating with HNTB leadership nationwide on strategic planning and implementation, industry representation, business development, service delivery, and client collaboration and satisfaction.

Prior to joining HNTB, she served as managing director of the MTA, where she was responsible for leading more than 70,000 employees in five operating agencies, overseeing transit systems that carry 9 million riders each day.

Full bio 

Sally Librera 

Sally is AECOM’s transit market leader for the Americas. She focuses on growing value and delivering sustainable, innovative, cost-effective solutions for transit providers, riders, communities, and systems.

As the former senior vice president for subways at MTA New York City Transit, Sally oversaw North America’s largest urban rail transit operation, leading a team of 30,000 employees and serving nearly 6 million daily riders. She oversaw 8,000 train trips on a fleet of 6,400 railcars across 660 miles of track and 472 stations each day.

Full bio

October 31, 2022

Tech will spot unsafe behavior and energy waste in transit systems

The half-dozen firms piloting their products with transit agencies—the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NJ Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey—completed proof of concepts this summer and fall and will begin yearlong pilots.

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October 31, 2022

Regional Transportation Agencies Deploy New Tech to Address Public Transit Safety and Extreme Weather Conditions

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

MTA Veterans Ronnie Hakim and Sally Librera Join Transit Tech Lab as Executives-in-Residence to Provide Strategic Advice to Startups

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 six winners of the Recovery and Sustainability Challenge that will deploy technologies to address public transit safety, track new mobility patterns, and support clean energy goals over a one-year pilot. 

The companies recently completed proof of concepts and will scale their solutions with the MTA, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), and NJ TRANSIT. They will leverage emerging technologies, including LiDAR, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and managed charging to deter unsafe behavior, curb fare evasion, and improve the sustainability and resiliency of transportation infrastructure. 

The Challenge launched during the Summer of 2022 and solicited nearly 150 applicants from across the world. Pilot winners were evaluated and selected by a team of 38 transit and public safety experts based on the technologies’ impact, product, team, and value of solution. 

Recovery Challenge Pilot Winners

  • Blyncsy (Salt Lake City, UT) - Catalogs roadway infrastructure and conditions in real time, including pavement markings, obstacles, and roadway deterioration to facilitate maintenance and enhance asset management systems.
    Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ
  • Quanergy (Sunnyvale, CA) - Uses LiDAR hardware paired with analytic software to improve transportation challenges. Quanergy’s Flow Management solution can report unsafe behavior, offer object detection, and measure passenger flows.
    Primary Partner Agency: New York City Transit, Metro-North Railroad

Sustainability Challenge Pilot Winners

  • GridMatrix (San Francisco, CA) - Processes live feeds from cameras and translates it into metrics on traffic congestion, signal performance, vehicular emissions, and roadway safety.
    Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ
  • Stormsensor (Seattle, WA) - Provides cost-effective stormwater/climate-data and predictive analytics to mitigate flooding, simplify monitoring, and streamline maintenance and operations procedures to better deploy emergency resources in weather events.
    Primary Partner Agency: New York City Transit, Metro-North Railroad, NJ TRANSIT, PANYNJ
  • The Mobility House (Belmont, CA) - Enables intelligent integration of electric vehicles with the grid while minimizing charging costs. The software provides insights on how to maximize electric bus availability.
    Primary Partner Agency: New York City Transit
  • Runwise (New York, NY) - Uses wireless technology and web-based software to provide actionable opportunities to reduce energy consumption and optimize heating in buildings.
    Primary Partner Agency: New York City Transit, Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Rail Road, PANYNJ
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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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