June 30, 2022

MTA Testing Tech to Modernize Signal System

Solutions Aim to Reduce Subway Running Times and Improve Reliability

Today, the Transit Tech Lab announced that four companies were selected as finalists in its Signaling Challenge, a global competition calling for technologies that will help modernize New York City’s aging subway signaling system quickly and cost-effectively. The challenge seeks to increase subway capacity, efficiency and reliability by enabling trains to run closer together. The four finalists, selected from nearly 60 applications, are testing solutions that utilize emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, LiDAR and communication-based train control (CBTC) across the New York City Transit subway system. 

The Transit Tech Lab is part of the Transit Innovation Partnership, a public-private initiative created by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Partnership for New York City.

Modernizing New York City’s aging signaling system will enable the MTA to run more trains, improving the customer experience for millions of people traveling within the five boroughs. The selected companies began tests in January 2022 and will present proof-of-concept results by the end of the summer.

The Signaling Challenge finalists are:

Company: 4AI Systems (New York, NY)
Technology: Using on-train artificial intelligence system to detect infrastructure, obstacles and wayside objects. The technology supports train operators in identifying obstructions, track intrusion, and equipment in need of repair.

Company: Alstom (West Henrietta, NY)
Technology: Using Urbalis, their latest technology, to enable faster communication between trains and bi-directional train movement. The product has a simplified, train-to-train architecture that eliminates the need of wayside equipment, reduces installation times, improves operational headway and speed, and lowers life cycle costs.

Company: Luminar (Orlando, FL)
Technology: Using long-range LiDAR technology coupled with perception software from their partner, Seoul Robotics, to accurately position a train underground, including areas where GPS traditionally fails. The product provides accurate arrival and departure data and can be further trained to detect hazards and structural damage on the tracks.

Company: Ouster (San Francisco, CA) in partnership with Lux Modus (Calgary, Canada)
Technology: Using digital LiDAR sensors to collect millions of high-resolution 3D geospatial data points on a Track Geometry Car. The technology provides a digital twin and detects structural damage, infrastructure decay and foreign objects on the tracks.

NYC Transit President Richard Davey said, “Increasing reliability is paramount to improving the customer experience and bringing more people back to the subway. This diverse group of pilot programs provides a variety of solutions towards achieving this goal, and we look forward to seeing the results.”

Natalia Quintero, Senior Vice President of Innovation at the Partnership for New York City said, “New York’s transit system is in the midst of tremendous transformation, and we are delighted to be helping accelerate the pace of positive change. With visionary leadership at the helm of the MTA and cutting-edge technology, New York City is well positioned to build the transit system New Yorkers deserve.”

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. 

May 24, 2022

Regional Transportation Agencies Pilot Innovative Tech to Restore Confidence in Public Transit and Meet Clean Energy Goals

Today, the Transit Tech Lab announced ten finalists for the COVID-19 Recovery and Environmental Sustainability challenges, a global competition calling for technologies to improve public transit safety and meet clean energy objectives. Selected from nearly 150 applicants, the ten finalists’ solutions will use emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision and LiDAR to improve the public transportation experience for millions of people in the tri-state area.

The companies chosen will test their solutions over an 8-week period with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and NJ TRANSIT.

The first COVID-19 Response Challenge was launched by the MTA and Transit Innovation Partnership in 2020 and led to eight productive collaborations with the MTA, the Port Authority and NJ TRANSIT. The call for applications for this year’s COVID-19 Recovery and Environmental Sustainability challenges launched in January 2022, with the goal of ensuring customers and employees feel safe, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making transit more responsive to the needs of New Yorkers.  

The 2022 COVID-19 Recovery finalists are:

Company: Blyncsy (Salt Lake City, UT)
Technology: Catalogues roadway infrastructure and conditions, including pavement markings, obstacles, and roadway deterioration to facilitate maintenance. 
Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ, NJT

Company: Clarifai (New York, NY)
Technology: Uses machine learning and computer vision software to identify track intrusions, unsafe behavior in stations, and passenger flows.
Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ, NYCT

Company: Invision AI, Inc. (Toronto, Canada)
Technology: Uses existing cameras and AI vision systems to create real-time 3D digital twin of transit stations.
Primary Partner Agency: NJT

Company: Quanergy (Sunnyvale, CA)
Technology: Uses LiDAR hardware paired with analytic software to provide a digital twin of any space. The digital twin can report unsafe behavior, offers object detection and passenger flows.
Primary Partner Agency: NYCT, MNR 

Company: Zensors Inc. (San Fransisco, CA)
Technology: Uses artificial intelligence to capture actionable data from existing hardware and cameras to provide operations visibility and address problems that range from overcrowding to fare evasion.
Primary Partner Agency: NYCT, MNR

The Environmental Sustainability finalists are:

Company: Gridmatrix (San Francisco, CA)
Technology: Uses software to interpret video footage on roads, enabling agencies to understand traffic patterns, unsafe intersections, and emissions.
Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ

Company: Microgrid Labs Inc. (Boulder, CO)
Technology: Enables planning for a fast, smooth and cost-effective transition to electric fleets through SaaS-based modeling, simulation, and optimization software, EVOPT.
Primary Partner Agency:
NJT 

Company: Runwise Inc. (New York, NY)
Technology: Uses wireless technology and web based software to operate heating and water systems more efficiently and help cut utility costs. 
Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ, MNR 

Company: StormSensor (Seattle, WA)
Technology: Provides cost-effective stormwater/climate-data and analytics to prevent flooding, simplify monitoring, and streamline maintenance and response.
Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ, MNR, NJT 

Company: The Mobility House (Belmont, California)
Technology: Enables intelligent integration of electric vehicles with the grid while minimizing charging costs.
Primary Partner Agency: NYCT 

Natalia Quintero, Senior Vice President of Innovation at the Partnership for New York City, said, “Public transit is the backbone of the tri-state economy, and its efficacy, safety and resilience are of paramount importance. The Transit Tech Lab is committed to providing cutting edge tools to restore riders’ confidence and support a sustainable future. Previous winners have deployed tools that improve service and the customer experience. We look forward to seeing the results of this year’s program.”

Michael Wojnar, Senior Advisor for Innovation and Policy at the MTA, said, “Partnering with the Transit Tech Lab finalists gives the MTA the opportunity to evaluate innovative approaches to MTA’s top priorities and challenges as laid out by the Chair earlier this year. Limiting track intrusion, increasing safety in stations, building more resilient infrastructure, and improving the efficiency of electric vehicle charging will be important issues for the MTA in 2022 and for years to come. We are excited to see what these firms have to offer, and we thank the Transit Tech Lab for introducing them to us.”

Robert Galvin, Chief Technology Officer at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said, “We are thrilled to once again be partnering with Transit Tech Lab to test out innovative and sustainable technology across our facilities. As the first transportation agency to embrace the 2018 Paris Climate agreement and the first to commit to net zero emissions by 2050, we are eager to work with these finalists to pilot new technologies that will not only enhance travel for our customers, but will help to modernize our infrastructure processes and contribute to our overall environmental goals.” 

Lookman Fazal, Chief of Information & Digital Technology at NJ TRANSIT, said, “NJ TRANSIT is proud of our continued partnership with the Transit Tech Lab and we are excited to work with these finalist teams to harness innovations and cutting-edge technologies from the private sector. We are always looking to leverage the newest technologies to improve safety, service and the 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. 

January 31, 2022

Regional Transportation Agencies Launch Tech Competition for COVID-19 Recovery and Environmental Sustainability

Applications open for Transit Tech Lab’s Recovery and Sustainability challenges with MTA, Port Authority, NJ TRANSIT and NYC DOT 

(New York, NY) – Today, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ TRANSIT, NYC Department of Transportation and the Partnership for New York City announced the fourth round of the Transit Tech Lab calling for technologies to aid in these agencies’ pandemic recovery and to meet sustainability objectives. 

Agencies are seeking solutions that restore customer confidence in public transportation, improve resilience to weather extremes, and further reduce the region’s carbon footprint, including new tools that better predict travel patterns, identify extreme weather impacts in real time, and support clean and efficient freight deliveries.

Applications for the Recovery Challenge and Sustainability Challenge are due March 25 and are accessible at: http://transittechlab.org/

Read more

January 12, 2022

MTA and Port Authority Deploy High-Tech Solutions to Enhance Cleaning, Predict Bus Capacity Levels, and Study E-Bike and Scooter Integration

After Successful Proof of Concepts, Three Innovative Companies Selected to Scale Pilots Across MTA and Port Authority Networks

(New York, NY) -- 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.

Read more

October 27, 2020

Companies Selected to Bring High-Tech COVID Solutions, Including Air Purification and Crowd Monitoring, to New York Metro Public Transit

Transit Innovation Partnership Connecting Eight Innovative Companies with MTA, Port Authority, NJ TRANSIT and NYC DOE to Enhance Health and Safety of Transit Network

See the Online Showcase

The Transit Innovation Partnership and partner agencies Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ TRANSIT and NYC Dept. of Education today announced eight finalists for the COVID-19 Response Challenge, a global competition calling for technologies to increase public transit safety and responsiveness in the midst of the pandemic. Selected out of nearly 200 applicants, the eight companies will now implement their innovative solutions across the NYC-area agencies for rapid evaluation. If successful, companies may be chosen for a year-long pilot to deploy their tools at scale.

Read more

August 25, 2020

COVID-19 Impact on the MTA and Public Transportation Testimony

Today, the Partnership for New York City submitted the following testimony on the impact of COVID-19 on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and public transportation to the New York State Legislature.

Thank you chairs Kennedy, Comrie and Paulin for hosting this hearing on the future of the MTA in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The Partnership for New York City represents private sector employers of more than 1.5 million New Yorkers. We work with government, labor and the nonprofit sector to maintain the city’s position as the preeminent global center of commerce, innovation and economic opportunity.

A modern and efficient public transit system is essential to our city and region’s economic recovery and future growth. We have continually and actively advocated for federal funding to fill the huge revenue losses the system has experienced due to the pandemic, but so far only a quarter of what is needed has been forthcoming. Without federal action on the $12 billion the MTA says it needs to get through 2021, there is no way the agency can remove itself out of what Chairman Foye has called a “fiscal tsunami.”

Read more

July 8, 2020

MTA and Transit Innovation Partnership Launch COVID-19 Response Challenge to Strengthen Public Transit

Challenge calls for technologies to make public transit safer, cleaner and more adaptive as New York gets back to work

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Transit Innovation Partnership today launched a new “COVID-19 Response Challenge” to engage the private tech industry and rapidly evaluate and deploy innovative technologies that make public transit safer, healthier and more responsive to customer and workforce needs in light of the global pandemic.

"To truly modernize every element of how we run our transit system, you have to look far and wide for new ideas," said Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg. "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 in everything it does."

Read more

May 17, 2020

MTA Launches New ‘Essential Connector’ App to Move Essential Workers During Overnight Subway Closure

New App Pilot Set to Help 11,000 Essential Workers Plan Alternative Travel During MTA Essential Plan Night Service, With Bus Ridership Increasing Up to 76%

App Supplements MTA’s ‘Essential Connector’ website (mta.info/overnight) and Call Center for Essential Workers to Plan Their Travel 

Download the App at the Apple App Store or Google Play 

View Photos of the New App Here  

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today launched the ‘Essential Connector’ app to help essential workers plan their alternative travel to or from work during the overnight subway closure from 1 to 5 a.m. Essential workers can use the new app to navigate and take advantage of the MTA’s dramatically enhanced bus service schedule – a 76% increase in overnight trips and 150% boost in the operational fleet – or book an eligible for-hire-vehicle where bus service is not workable at no cost.  

The new app supplements the impressive work done by MTA’s internal team to launch the Essential Connector program on May 6, 2020, just days after the overnight closure of the subway was announced. Tapping a station on the new app’s map allows the user to see live bus and train departures, including the last train arrivals of the night and available buses nearby. The app will provide info on current service disruptions and upcoming service changes. Over time the map will become “personalized,” highlighting the stops the user visits most often, making trip planning faster and easier than ever before. Following feedback, the MTA is already working on a second version of the app. The Essential Connector app is now available for download at the Apple App Store or on Google Play.  

Read more

April 3, 2020

MTA and Transit Innovation Partnership Announce Signaling Challenge Virtual Demo Day

17 Companies Virtually Demonstrate Cutting-Edge Technology to Re-Signal New York City’s Century-Old Subway System

The MTA and Transit Innovation Partnership hosted the Signaling Challenge Virtual Demo Day on April 2, a digital event in which 17 leading technology companies presented proposals to MTA officials for modernizing New York City’s century-old subway signaling system, via more than 150 video conference presentations and Q&A sessions. 

The Virtual Demo Day was part of the MTA and Transit Innovation Partnership’s Signaling Challenge, which is enlisting the world’s top transportation technology innovators to identify ways to make existing subway cars compatible with new signaling technology as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. The progress of this initiative reflects the MTA’s commitment to execute on long-term modernization plans while simultaneously addressing a major public health and service delivery emergency.

Read more

February 27, 2020

Nine Start-Ups Selected to Bring Cutting-Edge Technology to MTA and Other New York Area Transportation Agencies

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.

Read more