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MTA will pilot cutting-edge tech to improve subway and buses

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Four startups are partnering with the MTA to launch year-long pilots

Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

The MTA is partnering with four startups to test out cutting-edge tech geared toward improving the city’s subway and buses, the authority announced Tuesday.

Each company made it through the Transit Tech Lab—a program run by the Transit Innovation Partnership and Partnership Fund for New York City that seeks to accelerate the process of introducing new technology into the transit system—and will launch a year-long pilot program to test out their newfangled products aimed at improving commutes for the millions of straphangers who travel on the city’s buses and subways each day.

MTA President and CEO Patrick Foye called the pilots a “win-win” for the MTA and riders.

“We’re taking a totally new approach,” Foye said at a Tuesday press conference. “Under traditional MTA procurement the results of these four innovators and disruptors could have taken years and years to get through the bureaucracy. This was done in a period of months.”

Here are the products and that will move forward with subway and bus pilot programs, according to the MTA.

  • Axon Vibe provides smartphone app technology that enables public transport operators to deliver personalized communications based on users’ commuting behavior. If service is changed, the MTA can 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 measures the number of passengers moving through a subway station to identify crowding. The MTA can use this information to improve the deployment of staff to stations, change train distribution, and plan more efficient station design.
  • 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 efficiently produce the bus network redesign outlined in the Fast Forward NYC Plan. Remix’s technology uses public demographic data and generates easy-to-understand transit maps for community feedback.