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

October 31, 2022

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

Each year since 2019, winners selected through the Transit Tech Lab are eligible for competitive funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which then selects projects that demonstrate innovative clean transportation solutions.

The Transit Tech Lab will also expand its network of transportation experts with two new Executives-in-Residence. Ronnie Hakim, HNTB’s National Transit and Rail Market Leader, and Sally Librera, AECOM’s Transit Market Leader for the Americas, will provide Lab companies strategic advice on working with public agencies. Prior to joining HNTB, Hakim served as Managing Director of the MTA, leading the Authority’s 70,000 employees across five operating agencies. Librera, also an MTA veteran, was the Senior Vice President for Subways, where she managed the agency’s 24-hour operations and led a team of 30,000 employees.  

Stacey Matlen, Vice President of Innovation at the Partnership for New York City, said, “Mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events and addressing new mobility patterns have become prominent areas of focus for public transit agencies across the country. The Transit Tech Lab is proud to be at the forefront of solving these challenges with the tech sector and being part of the region’s recovery and sustainability strategy. We look forward to seeing how these six innovative companies create a more resilient transportation network and improve the transit experience for millions of riders.” 

Michael Wojnar, Senior Advisor for Innovation & Policy at MTA, said, “The Transit Tech Lab has been a vital partner in connecting the MTA with firms that offer innovative solutions to challenges, old and new, that impact the transit system. Working with this year’s winners, we will continue to look at innovative approaches towards furthering the Authority’s sustainability goals and improving the resiliency of the transit system.” 

Rob Galvin, Chief Technology Officer at the Port Authority, said, “It is vital for critical transportation organizations such as the Port Authority to leverage the latest technologies to drive down operating costs and positively impact our customers’ experiences. The Tech Lab is one area we use to develop and nurture innovation, and it is gratifying to see the startup community providing their prodigious energy and deep talent to some of the Port Authority’s most pressing challenges.”

William Viqueira, Chief Financial Officer at NJ TRANSIT, said, “Leveraging technology has been critical in advancing the agency. We are pleased to again partner with the Transit Tech Lab in finding innovative solutions to enhance the experience of our customers.”

Richard Mai, Senior Project Manager for Clean Transportation at NYSERDA, said, “Accelerating innovation in public transportation will help address resiliency challenges, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and improve local air quality. We are proud to partner with the Transit Tech Lab and its winners to bring forward new technologies that can make transit safer, cleaner and more efficient for New York commuters when adopted at scale.”

Sally Librera, Transit Market Leader for the Americas at AECOM, said, “Partnering with the tech sector is critical to providing modern, reliable, and customer-focused transit service. I look forward to supporting the Transit Tech Lab's mission in this new role and working with the pilot winners to fortify our transportation infrastructure and enhance 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. 


Get notified about the Transit Tech Lab and receive occasional updates.

© 2024 Transit Tech Lab and New York City Partnership Foundation


Get notified about the Transit Tech Lab and receive occasional updates.

© 2024 Transit Tech Lab and New York City Partnership Foundation


Get notified about the Transit Tech Lab and receive occasional updates.

© 2024 Transit Tech Lab and New York City Partnership Foundation