March 1, 2023

Knaq keeps the Port Authority’s elevators and escalators on the up-and-up

When Brian Carey launched Lower Manhattan startup Knaq in 2017, the engineer and Stanford research fellow planned to develop monitoring devices for industrial equipment including wastewater pumps and compressors. But the first client he landed was a tiny elevator company in New Jersey. And thus his long ride began.

“I never thought in a million years I would know this much about elevators and escalators,” Carey says now.

Exploring the industry, he discovered something wild: There were no devices on the market that could send real-time status alerts to elevator and escalator operators. Hospitals, transit agencies and lots of other institutions were still relying on customer complaints or a daily maintenance check to learn when a people mover was on the fritz.

Now Knaq provides elevator, escalator and moving-walkway monitoring services to a dozen clients operating more than 1,000 people movers, largely in the New York area. The company’s devices send instant text or email alerts to operators as soon as the equipment stops running—potentially eliminating hours of downtime.

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November 27, 2022

MTA to use artificial intelligence tech to keep buses from breaking down

The MTA plans to use artificial intelligence technology to help prevent buses from breaking down on the road.

The agency has tested the tech — from the company Preteckt — for two years. It’s a souped-up version of the check engine light in your car, according to the company’s founder Ken Sills. He said it can flag serious equipment problems long in advance, enabling crews to be more proactive about bus maintenance.

Sills said the technology prevents “progressive damage."

“Where you have a small issue that can be fixed fairly inexpensively with little amount of time that, if you get ahead of, can prevent you from damaging a very expensive component,” he said.

Preteckt was chosen as one of six companies that won the Transit Tech Lab accelerator in 2019, which allowed companies to pilot their technology at the MTA.

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July 7, 2022

After delays, MTA makes moves toward 21st-century tech

ast week, a Citi Bike tossed onto the tracks, several basketballs and a trash bag caught on braking equipment spurred multiple subway delays.

But it isn’t just unpredictable junk clogging up the rails, it’s aging infrastructure that fails and stalls trains, or people who have fallen onto tracks or are trespassing in the system that turns precious commuting minutes into lost time.

Modern signal upgrades can enable the MTA not just to run more reliable subway service but also improve how transit crews maintain and monitor the system. To that end, the MTA is piloting emerging technologies from four companies selected by the Transit Tech Lab—a public-private partnership between the MTA and the Partnership for New York City—through its Signaling Challenge initiative.

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July 8, 2020

MTA wants startups to help solve its coronavirus problem

The authority issues a new “challenge” for tech companies to keep transit safe.

By Annie McDonough, City & State New York

New York isn’t exactly known for a speedy procurement process, or for taking chances on granting state contracts to small companies. But when faced with a global pandemic that threatens the future of public transit, fast-moving startups with innovative solutions may be just what the doctor ordered.

The Transit Tech Lab – an accelerator program for technology startups aimed at solving public transit issues – launched a new, coronavirus-specific challenge on Wednesday, which asks for innovative approaches to make public transit safer as riders return to subways and buses. Those proposals could eventually be piloted and implemented with the MTA, as well as with other participating agencies, including the New York City Department of Transportation, NJ Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. "To truly modernize every element of how we run our transit system, you have to look far and wide for new ideas," interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg said in a press release. "That means tapping into the city's robust entrepreneurial and technology scenes and thinking in new ways about how a vital institution like New York City Transit can embrace innovation."

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October 14, 2019

Meet the Smart Cities Summit speakers, Part 3: Natalia Quintero, Director of City of New York Transit Tech Lab

Smart Cities Summit is the go-to event for the government and technology decision-makers creating America’s future smart cities.

The third speaker in this 3-part series is Natalia Quintero, Director at City of New York Transit Tech Lab.

Tell us about your role.

As director of the Transit Tech Lab, an accelerator program for start-ups solving public transportation challenges, I foster collaboration between mobility innovators and leaders at the MTA. Our goal is to help shape the future of transit in New York City.

Can you explain a little further about the formation of Transit Tech Lab as part of the City of New York?

The Transit Tech Lab is part of a public-private partnership between the Transit Innovation Partnership, which was launched by the Partnership for New York City, and the MTA. The partnership was formed in response to the crisis faced by the New York City transit system in 2017. Through this collaboration, New York’s business community is able to work with the MTA to ensure that our city becomes the global leader in public transportation. Nothing is more important to New York’s economic well-being.

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October 8, 2019

Startups Partner with MTA for First-Ever Transit Tech Lab

A group of tech startups is working with the MTA and Partnership for New York City, to fix the Big Apple’s transit troubles. The first-ever Transit Tech Lab is taking on subway and bus challenges to make commuting less chaotic. Maddie Orton reports.

April 8, 2019

Can cameras improve city buses?

Will Automated Bus Lane Enforcement pilot cameras make a difference?

By Annie McDonough, City & State New York

Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a pilot program to improve bus lane enforcement by installing high-tech, forward-facing cameras on city buses for real-time capture of license plate and other information—and automatic ticketing—of cars that drive into dedicated bus lanes. The Automated Bus Lane Enforcement pilot cameras will be installed on 123 new buses on routes in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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February 25, 2019

New York’s MTA is launching a first-of-its-kind tech accelerator to help fix its crumbling subway and slow buses

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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January 18, 2019

La MTA adopta nuevas tecnologías para el ‘subway’ y buses

By Spectrum Noticias NY1

Este sistema de cámaras es capaz de reconocer, de inmediato, la edad y el género de las personas. El aparato también detecta el rostro y la identidad.

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January 18, 2019

Exclusive: Meet the Tech Semi-Finalists Who Could Change NYC’s Transit System

By Lydia Hu, NY1

Better, faster transit service. Isn’t that what every New Yorker wants? The MTA and the Partnership for New York City could be closer to finding the latest technological options that could potentially improve subway and bus service for New Yorkers.

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