MTA Genius Transit Challenge finalists selected

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on Dec. 21 announced the names of 19 finalists for the agency’s “GeniusTransit Challenge,” an international competition launched in May “that seeks to identify innovative solutions to increase the capacity and improve the reliability of New York City's subway service.”

A panel of “technology and transportation experts” reviewed more than 400 submissions from applicants across the professional spectrum including engineers, technologists, and leading academics and business leaders. Sixty-four applicants advanced to the second phase of the competition and 19 of those moved on to the finals. The winners are expected to be announced sometime in the first quarter of 2018. A “Genius” award of up to $1 million will be provided to the best ideas in three categories:

• Challenge 1: Improve signaling “by identifying strategies to dramatically accelerate deployment of Communications-Based Train Control or to deploy alternate signaling solutions that offer technological advantages and can be deployed in a more rapid timeframe.”

• Challenge 2: Identify strategies “to rapidly deploy better subway cars to the subway system, either through faster delivery of new cars capable of supporting modern communications and train control, or through rapid refurbishment of existing cars.

• Challenge 3: Increase communications infrastructure in the subway system, including tunnels, to support modern train control systems.

Challenge 1 finalists:

• AECOM: Intelligent Alignment of Service Delivery to Customer Demand

• Alstom: Train-Centric Peer-to-Peer CBTC

• Ansaldo STS: Video Odometry, Heads-Up Display and Augmented Reality

• Arup: Acorn: Autonomous Car Operating Rail Network

• Robert James (Individual): Connected Vehicles & Ultra-Wideband for Communications & Location

• Metrom Rail : Positive Train Control System based on Ultra-Wideband

• Siemens : Dramatically Accelerate Communications-Based Train Control Deployment

• Thales Group: Several Integrated Ideas to Accelerate Communications-Based Train Control Deployment

• Thales Group: Next Generation Positioning: Autonomous Train Car Platform

Challenge 2 finalists: 

• Alstom: Upgrades to Improve Subway Car Reliability

• Craig Avedisian (Individual): Modify Cars to Enable Trains to Have 4 More Cars

• Bombardier: Modular Car Concept Utilizing a Common Vehicle Platform

• CRRC MA: Technology-Advanced Cars with Shorter Vehicle Lifecycle

• CSINTRANS: Open Information System to Improve Operations Efficiency & Customer Communications

• Faiveley (Wabtec): Newly Developed Brake Control System

Challenge 3 finalists:

• Alcatel-Lucent (Nokia): Standards-Based Trackside Private LTE Network with an IP/MPLS Backbone

• Alstom: Multi-Service High Capacity, Flexible Network

• Bechtel: The Big B: Semi-Automated Robotic System

• Transit Wireless: Dedicated LTE Network to Connect Trains to Tunnel Entrances and Trackside Radios

The MTA Genius Transit Challenge Finalist Judges are Sarah Feinberg, former Federal Railroad Administrator; Daniel Huttenlocher, Dean and Vice Provost, Cornell Tech; Charles Phillips, CEO, Infor, and former Co-President and Director, Oracle; Kristina Johnson, Chancellor-elect, SUNY; Nick Grossman, General Manager, Union Square Ventures; Eliot Horowitz, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, MongoDB; Balaji Prabhakhar, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Stanford University; Joe Lhota, Chairman, MTA; Pat Foye, President, MTA; Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim, Managing Director, MTA; and Janno Lieber, Chief Development Officer, MTA.

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