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.

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