MTA and Port Authority Deploy High-Tech Solutions to Enhance Cleaning, Predict Bus Capacity Levels, and Study E-Bike and Scooter Integration
January 12, 2022
After Successful Proof of Concepts, Three Innovative Companies Selected to Scale Pilots Across MTA and Port Authority Networks
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.
The companies that are deploying their products in a one-year pilot are:
Company: Beyond (New York, NY)
Primary Partner Agency: MTA
Technology: Individually leased folding electric bikes and scooters. Demonstrated preliminary examples of how e-bikes and e-scooters could be safely mobilized on public transit.
Company: Cityswift (Galway, Ireland)
Primary Partner Agency: MTA
Technology: Provides capacity levels for trains and buses. The platform predicted capacity along bus routes; tracked, monitored and automatically reported performance, predicted run times, and optimized timetables.
Company: Kinnos (Brooklyn, NY)
Primary Partner Agency: Port Authority
Technology: A proprietary colorized powder formula that dissolves into liquid bleach. With the additive, the Port Authority measured a 63% improvement in disinfection coverage within a facility.
The Challenge represents the third cycle of the successful Transit Tech Lab program. Previous graduates of the program 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.
“These pilots demonstrate the private sector’s ongoing support of public agencies amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Natalia Quintero, Senior Vice President of Innovation at the Partnership for New York City. “The Lab looks forward to working with pilot winners to evaluate how each tool can bring customers back to public transit safely and efficiently. We want to especially thank our partners at the MTA and Port Authority for their commitment to integrating innovative tools that mobilize customers returning to mass transit."
“We are pleased to take part in the Transit Innovation Partnership’s Transit Tech Lab’s COVID-19 Response Challenge,” said Robert Galvin, Chief Technology Officer at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “This challenge has inspired a great call to action among the tech sector to bring forth creative technology and solutions to address the ongoing challenges associated with the pandemic.”
“The MTA is exploring every avenue to be in a better position to welcome back New Yorkers as they return to public transit, including looking to great ideas from the private sector,” said Michael Wojnar, MTA Senior Advisor for Innovation & Policy. “These pilots are promising because they may help the MTA improve the customer experience and increase sustainable options to ensure a smoother and more efficient journey.”
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 address top-priority challenges. Learn more at https://transitinnovation.org.