The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Partnership for New York City today are jointly announcing finalists accepted to the Transit Tech Lab, an accelerator program that will allow tech companies to introduce New York’s transportation agencies to new products designed to improve transit services.
“Through the MTA’s work with the Partnership, we are dedicated to testing and implementing new technologies that will modernize and improve subway and bus service across New York City,” said Pat Foye, MTA President. “The Transit Tech Lab is one example of how the MTA is changing to embrace technology and build a culture of innovation by working with companies that are pioneers in mobility.”
“Improving public transit is critical to New York City’s future. We are thrilled that the technology community has stepped up to this challenge and grateful for the MTA’s commitment to innovation,” said Rachel Haot, Executive Director of the Transit Innovation Partnership. “We look forward to supporting MTA performance and customer service goals through the Transit Tech Lab.”
Through a global competition in which almost 100 companies participated, six technology companies have been selected for the eight-week program. They will work with MTA personnel to customize their products to address needs of the transit agencies and its customers. The long and complex public procurement process does not allow young companies and new products to get a trial run at a cost and pace that they can afford. It also does not provide a mechanism for MTA staff to become familiar with the latest relevant technology. Transit Tech Lab solves for both issues.
This first class of Lab participants are focused on a range of subway and bus priorities, including reducing cost and subway delays by employing predictive maintenance; deploying a platform for transit network planning; using computer vision to reduce bus lane blockages; applying sensors to address platform crowding; and tools to predict subway delays.
The Lab is being managed by the nonprofit Transit Innovation Partnership, led by Rachel Haot, 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 eight years and which played a critical role in establishing New York City as a hub for the global financial technology industry. The intention is for New York to become the center of innovation in the rapidly growing field of mobility technology, particularly as it relates to mass transit.
During the Transit Tech Lab, the MTA will be able to evaluate innovative products offered by the participating companies—at no cost to the MTA—and entrepreneurs will work to customize their products to address challenges facing New York. At the end of the eight-week Lab, the MTA can decide to move forward with a one-year pilot of those technologies that are found to offer the best solutions.
The companies selected for the Lab were evaluated by MTA and tech sector experts. They were required to submit working versions of their technologies and to have proven track records of successfully integrating with customers.
The subway challenge called for solutions that better predict and prevent subway delays and reduce the burden on customers. The selected companies are:
- Axon Vibe: A global smart mobility platform that analyzes and predicts real-world passenger travel patterns by leveraging smartphone data. Axon Vibe enables public transport agencies worldwide to deliver personalized and contextual communications regarding transit-related delays, incidents and third-party offers to passengers through a smartphone app, while respecting their privacy.
- Veovo: Uses a mix of sensor technologies and cameras to analyze the number of people in an area. The technology can predict if dangerous crowding conditions in a train station are likely to occur and report it back to transit operational centers to take action.
The bus challenge requested solutions that help public buses move faster and more efficiently, especially in bus lanes. The companies selected for the bus challenge are:
- Palisade Labs: Based in Brooklyn, Palisade Labs applies computer vision technology to the footage captured by forward-facing cameras on MTA buses to assess the obstructions in dedicated bus lanes. This technology can identify vehicles as well as license plate numbers, which can be reviewed by traffic enforcement authorities. The result is improved bus speeds and more efficient allocation of traffic enforcement resources.
- PIPS Technology, a Neology business, is a leading machine vision technology provider, operating in the transportation and mobility arena. Neology’s expertise is used globally in the detection, identification and classification of unique vehicle characteristics, including license plate recognition, which are deployed in the U.S. and worldwide to solve the most complex transportation issues. Neology’s solutions use forward-facing cameras to assess bus lane obstructions and support bus lane enforcement.
- Preteckt: Delivers predictive diagnostics using the raw sensor data collected by a bus telematics system. Preteckt helps fleets avoid service interruptions and unexpected downtime, while also making it much easier and faster for mechanics to diagnose problems. Preteckt’s product not only helps ensure better service for riders but also helps save time and money in fleet management.
- Remix: Helps cities and agencies optimize public transit routes and networks. Remix brings together the entire transportation picture into one platform, including new mobility, bus and subway routes, and demographic and collision data. The platform helps planners redesign streets and transit to ensure populations are being served efficiently and equitably.