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MTA Announces Plan to Test Innovative Solutions to Bus and Subway Challenges

Four Companies Chosen for MTA Pilot Projects through the Transit Tech Lab

Press Conference Streamed Live at youtube.com/MTAinfo

At a press conference today, leadership from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Partnership for New York City jointly announced the successful completion of the Transit Tech Lab, an accelerator program that enables tech companies to test and introduce new products designed to improve transit services. Starting today, four of the six companies graduating from the accelerator will begin pilots with the MTA to implement products that address key subway and bus challenges.

“As the MTA experiences a period of historic reform, transformation, and innovation, we’re leveraging this new model for evaluating and introducing technologies that address some of our most critical challenges. The result is an inaugural Transit Tech Lab that far surpassed our expectations,” said Patrick Foye, Chairman & CEO of the MTA. “We are eager to develop these mobility technologies over the next year to improve subway and bus service for riders across New York City.”

“Thanks to the leadership of the MTA and the ingenuity of Transit Tech Lab finalists, New York City’s transit riders will benefit from mobility technologies designed to improve operations and customer service,” said Natalia Quintero, Director of the Transit Tech Lab.

Following a global competition last Fall, in which nearly 100 companies participated, six finalists were selected for the inaugural class of the Transit Tech Lab. Over eight weeks, the companies worked closely with New York City Transit and MTA personnel to test how their products could improve service and customer communications.

Two companies will advance to the pilot phase for the subway challenge:

  • Axon Vibe provides smartphone app technology that enables public transport operators to deliver personalized communications based on users’ commuting behavior. If service is changed, MTA can proactively notify the impacted users (taking into consideration their location and context) and provide alternative transportation suggestions based on rider’s anticipated destination and commuting preferences.
  • Veovo instantly measures the number of passengers moving through a subway station to identify crowding and make service more efficient. The MTA can use this information to improve the deployment of staff to stations, change train distribution and plan more efficient station design.

Two companies will advance to the pilot phase for the bus challenge:

  • Preteckt studies vehicle data from buses to predict system failures at least 48 hours before the Check Engine light is activated and the bus must be removed from service. Preteckt’s insights have the potential to reduce time spent on maintenance, prevent service disruptions and reduce fleet costs.
  • Remix provides software for designing transit systems that enables MTA planners to more quickly and efficiently produce the bus network redesign outlined in the Fast Forward NYC Plan. To ensure equitable access and support public engagement, Remix’s technology uses public demographic data and generates easy-to-understand transit maps for community feedback.

The Transit Tech Lab is managed by the nonprofit Transit Innovation Partnership, led by Rachel Haot, previously the first Chief Digital Officer for New York City and the first Chief Digital Officer for New York State, and the Partnership Fund for New York City, led by Maria Gotsch. It is modeled after the highly successful FinTech Innovation Lab that the Partnership Fund has run for the past nine years and played a critical role in establishing New York City as a hub for the global financial technology industry. The goal of the Transit Tech Lab is to establish New York as the center of innovation for mobility, particularly as it relates to public transit.