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NYC Subway to Be Transformed With New Tech-Focused Upgrades

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The future is now

Governor Cuomo unveiled the design today for 1,025 new subway cars that will include Wi-Fi, USB ports, and digital displays, and many of which will include an open-gangway design. The unveiling also comes alongside a new, ambitious plan to upgrade 31 of the city’s subway stations with high-visibility entrances; technology integration including countdown clocks; better lighting; and improved wayfinding materials. The Request For Proposals for the 1,025 subway cars, and the first of several RFPs for three of the 31 subway stations will be issued later this week.

"New York deserves a world-class transportation network, worthy of its role as the heartbeat of the 21st century economy," Governor Cuomo said in a statement, "The MTA design team developed a bold and visionary reimagining of the quintessential commuter experience, incorporating best practices from global transit systems, and focusing on our core mission to renew, enhance and expand. We are going to do more than renovate—we are bringing subway stations to a higher standard than ever before, and the new vision for subway cars will increase capacity and reduce overcrowding and delays."

The first of the three stations to undergo the overhaul will be Brooklyn’s Prospect Avenue D/N/R stop, 53rd Street R stop, and Bay Ridge Avenue R stop. Under the governor’s plan, 31 stations spread across the five boroughs will be thoroughly renovated, and an additional 170 stations will receive small fixes. The 31 stations undergoing major renovations will receive entrance canopies with lighting and service announcements, LED light fixtures throughout, furniture with integrated charging stations, control area dashboards, and contemporary art.

Of the 1,025 new subway cars, 750 will be open gangway design which will increase capacity and aid in the flow of riders. In the new cars, the width of door openings will be increased from 50 to 58 inches, which the MTA speculates will reduce the "dwell time" of trains by 32 percent by facilitating passenger’s ability to enter and exit more expediently. Not the least exciting of the cars’ new amenities will be their digital capabilities including Wi-Fi, integrated USB chargers, full color digital customer info displays, and digital ads. The cars will also have illuminated door opening alerts and security cameras to promote safety, as well as a new design that includes LED headlights.

The overhauls are a part of the MTA’s $27 billion, five-year capital budget. The agency will use design-build contracts, meaning a single firm will be responsible for the design and construction of a project, in order to expedite the timeline.

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