‘A dire need’ for new products to fix subway delays and move buses through congested streets

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New York’s subways and buses are in crisis. As it copes with cascading delays, traffic congestion, and declines in ridership, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is seeking salvation from an unlikely source: the tech sector. On Wednesday, the MTA announced the creation of “the nation’s first Transit Tech Lab,” an accelerator designed to vet new high-tech products designed to help improve the nation’s largest public transit system.

To start out, the MTA is issuing two challenges to the tech companies: design tools to help us better predict subway delays and mitigate disruption for commuters, and new products to move buses faster and more efficiently through the city’s notoriously congested streets. Sounds easy, right? Obviously not, but the MTA is convinced that with this project, it can hopefully improve daily commutes for the roughly 5.7 million people who ride the system every weekday.

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