Start-Ups to Pilot New Technologies to Make Transportation More Accessible, Reduce Curb Congestion and Provide More Amenities to Transit Customers

The Partnership for New York City’s Transit Tech Lab, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and four other transportation agencies announced today that nine start-up companies have been selected to pilot cutting-edge technologies that could improve accessibility, revenue generation, and traffic congestion for millions of daily travelers in the New York metropolitan area. The agencies joining the MTA in this initiative are the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York City Department of Transportation, NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak.

The Transit Tech Lab is part of the public-private Transit Innovation Partnership and enables the MTA and other public transportation agencies to leverage innovative technology solutions to improve metropolitan area transit, with the aim to make New York the global leader in public transportation.

“We are thrilled by the response to the 2020 Transit Tech Lab challenges in accessibility, curb coordination and revenue generation and look forward to the value these innovations will bring to customers. It is a testament to the MTA’s leadership and the tech sector’s dedication that this year nearly all of the region’s largest transit agencies have signed on as partners,” said Rachel Haot, Executive Director of the Transit Innovation Partnership.

“The Transit Tech Lab has been a great partner to the MTA, fostering innovative ideas and creative pilots for improving our operations and the customer experience. As we work hard to modernize the MTA, we’re excited for what this round of challenges will bring and thrilled that the Lab has expanded to include our regional partners in transportation,” said Patrick J. Foye, Chairman and CEO of the MTA.

More than 130 companies applied to be part of this year’s program, which focuses on three topics that were jointly chosen by the participating agencies:

  • Accessibility: How can we make New York’s public transit systems more accessible?
  • Entrepreneurial Revenue Generation: How can public transit generate more revenue outside the farebox?
  • Curb Coordination: How can transit agencies reduce traffic by increasing coordination at the curb?

During the rigorous eight-week program, each company will collaborate closely with participating agencies and work to demonstrate that their product has the potential to solve one of the identified challenges. Companies that successfully achieve this “proof of concept” accelerator phase will move on to a formal pilot project that deploys their technology for testing in one or more participating transit systems. Last year six companies were selected for the accelerator program and four proceeded to pilots upon completion. 

“At the MTA, we believe that start-ups are key to unlocking innovative ideas to address our most pressing transportation challenges,” said Mark Dowd, MTA Chief Innovation Officer.

“The Port Authority is committed to upgrading its facilities to 21st century global standards. With exciting help from Transit Tech Lab and the promising companies selected for this year’s program, we look forward to leveraging innovative 21st century technologies to make a multitude of improvements, including improved wayfinding for the visually impaired, dramatically improved response time for servicing elevators and escalators, and for more efficient curbside traffic flow at the region’s major airports and across our facilities,” said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“During this year’s Transit Tech Lab, we are excited to explore innovative ideas that could help reduce traffic on New York City streets and improve curb coordination. With a growing variety of road users sharing space, this effort is an important way to improve how our streets function” said New York City DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

“NJ Transit is deeply committed to improving services for its riders, and we think being part of this year’s Transit Tech Lab will help achieve that objective. We are always on the lookout for innovative ideas and technologies, and this program will be a great way to explore some exciting possibilities” said Kevin Corbett, Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT.

“Making our system more accessible for all is one of our key objectives, and we are looking forward to working towards that goal with the Transit Tech Lab. The technologies we will be exploring could be hugely beneficial for our customers, and the Lab will be a great way to explore what could work well for Amtrak” said Richard H. Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Amtrak.

For more information on the 2020 Transit Tech Lab Program Participants, please visit: transitinnovation.org.

Transit Tech Lab 2020 Program Participants

Acoustic Protocol: Converts audio public address announcements into personalized, targeted messages to improve accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing customers.

Partner Organizations: New York City Transit and Metro-North Railroad

NaviLens: Uses a computer vision algorithm that interprets geospatial information and provides navigation guidance in any space without use of GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi or cell coverage.

Partner Organizations: New York City Transit, Metro-North Railroad, Amtrak, NJ TRANSIT and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Okeenea: Smartphone app that provides transit system navigation for customers who are blind/low vision or deaf/hard of hearing.

Partner Organizations: New York City Transit and Amtrak

Knaq: Provides predictive elevator and escalator maintenance tools enabling any service elevator to be digitized and its status instantly updated online.

Partner Organizations: New York City Transit, Metro-North Railroad, Amtrak, NJ TRANSIT and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Allvision IO: Inventories curb infrastructure and monitors street parking behavior of both commercial and noncommercial vehicles. 

Partner Organization: New York City Department of Transportation

CARMERA: Provides up-to-the-minute construction data and descriptions, such as obstructions in parking spots or traffic lanes.

Partner Organization: New York City Transit

CurbFlow: Marketplace for curbside access that sources dedicated curb supply from municipalities to create pickup and drop-off management and maps.  

Partner Organization: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Numina: Measures curb-level behaviors using a proprietary, camera-based sensor that mounts to any fixed infrastructure, Numina processes all imagery securely onboard the sensor, anonymously measures activity and provides behavioral insights to improve traffic operations.

Partner Organizations: New York City Transit, NJ TRANSIT and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Miles: Provides anonymized multimodal analytics to cities and offers mileage-based rewards to users encouraging public transit use.

Partner Organizations: New York City Transit, NJ TRANSIT and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey