MTA hosts digital event to advance modernisation of New York’s subway

Posted: 6 April 2020 |

The event saw 17 leading technology companies present proposals to MTA officials for modernising New York City’s century-old subway signalling system.

MTA hosts digital event to advance modernisation of New York's subway

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Transit Innovation Partnership, a public-private initiative formed by the MTA and the Partnership for New York City, recently hosted the Signaling Challenge Virtual Demo Day, a digital event designed to share ideas about modernising the signalling systems of the New York subway. 

The Virtual Demo Day was part of the MTA and Transit Innovation Partnership’s Signaling Challenge, which is said to be enlisting the world’s top transportation technology innovators to identify ways to make existing subway cars compatible with new signalling technology as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

“The MTA is focused on the long-term needs of the region’s transportation system while we handle the unprecedented day-to-day challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark Dowd, MTA Chief Innovation Officer. “This public health crisis is a formidable challenge and we sincerely appreciate the hard work of Transit Innovation Partnership in helping MTA build the most innovative solutions on the market.”

“We are grateful to the transit workers keeping our city running and honoured to continue our partnership to identify and implement the most advanced technologies in the world to achieve the safety, efficiency and service goals of the signalling modernisation programme,” said Rachel Haot, Executive Director of the Transit Innovation Partnership.

At the Virtual Demo Day, invited companies presented a variety of innovative technologies that could help modernise the subway’s signalling system, including ultra-wideband and other wireless communications and radio technologies, LiDAR mapping systems, collision avoidance systems, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. Companies were evaluated by MTA subject matter and academic experts.

Subject matter experts are evaluating the Signaling Challenge proposals on a set of criteria that include how much they would improve the subway system’s safety, on-time performance and operational flexibility. Challenge winners could proceed to work collaboratively with the MTA to further test, develop or explore implementing their solutions.

A critical part of modernising subway signalling in a cost-efficient manner is said to be upgrading legacy train cars with new technology. The Signaling Challenge calls for reliable, cost-effective strategies that can support and accelerate the MTA’s aggressive goals to modernise the subway.