MTA Details $54.8B Capital Plan, Technology Pilot Program

Written by Andrew Corselli, Managing Editor
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Work was awarded in January to install a modern computer-based signaling system on the Eighth Avenue A,C,E line.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) President of Construction & Development Janno Lieber detailed some of the core projects that will be awarded in 2020 as part of the historic $54.8 billion 2020-2024 Capital Program. In addition, the Partnership for New York City’s Transit Tech Lab, MTA and four other transportation agencies announced that nine start-up companies have been selected to pilot cutting-edge technologies that aim to improve accessibility, revenue generation and traffic congestion.

The new MTA Construction & Development will aim to tackle the Capital Program projects—including critical priorities advanced such as accessibility, modern resignaling work and system expansion—through a new approach, such as bundling work, streamlining processes and simplifying designs.

Work was awarded in January to install a modern computer-based signaling system on the Eighth Avenue A,C,E line, which connects Manhattan’s West side with Brooklyn and various subway lines that interface with nearly every subway line throughout the system. This signal work is primarily funded in the 2015-2019 Capital Program. The 2020-2024 Capital Program includes funding for additional infrastructure improvements along this corridor that will be coordinated with the signal upgrades to further improve service reliability.

MTA will award contracts this year for full ADA accessibility at 25 stations throughout the network. That includes five stations in the Bronx, including one Metro-North station, six stations in Brooklyn, four stations in Manhattan, seven stations in Queens, including two Long Island Rail Road stations, and three stations on Staten Island.

Lieber also announced updates and progress on other 2015-2019 projects, including a new connection for Metro-North to Penn Station, a project known as Penn Station Access. A detailed project list can be found here.

“We are jump-starting these projects and moving forward aggressively,” said Lieber. “This is all in keeping with our commitment to schedule work strategically, and keep our customers and stakeholders up to speed about our progress.”

The agencies joining the MTA for the technology initiative are the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York City Department of Transportation, NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak.

The Transit Tech Lab is part of the public-private Transit Innovation Partnership and enables the MTA and other public transportation agencies to leverage innovative technology solutions to improve metropolitan area transit, with the aim to make New York the global leader in public transportation.

More than 130 companies applied to be part of this year’s program, which focuses on three topics that were jointly chosen by the participating agencies:

  • Accessibility: How can we make New York’s public transit systems more accessible?
  • Entrepreneurial Revenue Generation: How can public transit generate more revenue outside the farebox?
  • Curb Coordination: How can transit agencies reduce traffic by increasing coordination at the curb?

During the eight-week program, each company will collaborate closely with participating agencies and work to demonstrate that their product has the potential to solve one of the identified challenges. Companies that successfully achieve this “proof of concept” accelerator phase will move on to a formal pilot project that deploys their technology for testing in one or more participating transit systems. Last year six companies were selected for the accelerator program and four proceeded to pilots upon completion.

“We are thrilled by the response to the 2020 Transit Tech Lab challenges in accessibility, curb coordination and revenue generation and look forward to the value these innovations will bring to customers,” said Rachel Haot, Executive Director of the Transit Innovation Partnership. “It is a testament to the MTA’s leadership and the tech sector’s dedication that this year nearly all of the region’s largest transit agencies have signed on as partners.”

“The Transit Tech Lab has been a great partner to the MTA, fostering innovative ideas and creative pilots for improving our operations and the customer experience,” said Patrick J. Foye, Chairman and CEO of the MTA. “As we work hard to modernize the MTA, we’re excited for what this round of challenges will bring and thrilled that the Lab has expanded to include our regional partners in transportation.”

“The Port Authority is committed to upgrading its facilities to 21st century global standards,” said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “With exciting help from Transit Tech Lab and the promising companies selected for this year’s program, we look forward to leveraging innovative 21st century technologies to make a multitude of improvements, including improved wayfinding for the visually impaired, dramatically improved response time for servicing elevators and escalators, and for more efficient curbside traffic flow at the region’s major airports and across our facilities.”

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