NYMTA Transit Tech Lab Announces Recovery and Sustainability Challenge WinnersWritten by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
The New York Metropolitan Authority (MTA)/Partnership for New York City Transit Tech Lab announced on Oct. 31 six winners of its Recovery and Sustainability Challenge that will “deploy technologies to address public transit safety, track new mobility patterns, and support clean energy goals over a one-year pilot.”
The companies recently completed proof of concepts and will scale their solutions with the MTA, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and NJ Transit, and, according to the Transit Tech Lab, will leverage emerging technologies, including LiDAR (light detection and ranging), AI (artificial intelligence), computer vision, and managed charging to “deter unsafe behavior, curb fare evasion, and improve the sustainability and resiliency of transportation infrastructure.”
According to the Transit Tech Lab, the Challenge, which launched this past summer, solicited nearly 150 applicants from across the world. Pilot winners were evaluated and selected by a team of 38 transit and public safety experts based on the technologies’ impact, product, team and value of solution.
Recovery Challenge pilot winners include:
- Blyncsy (Salt Lake City, UT)—Catalogs roadway infrastructure and conditions in real time, including pavement markings, obstacles and roadway deterioration to facilitate maintenance and enhance asset management systems. Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ
- Quanergy (Sunnyvale, Calif.)—Uses LiDAR hardware paired with analytic software to improve transportation challenges. Quanergy’s Flow Management solution can report unsafe behavior, offer object detection, and measure passenger flows. Primary Partner Agency: New York City Transit (NYCT), Metro-North Railroad
Sustainability Challenge pilot winners include:
- GridMatrix (San Francisco, Calif.)—Processes live feeds from cameras and translates it into metrics on traffic congestion, signal performance, vehicular emissions, and roadway safety. Primary Partner Agency: PANYNJ
- StormSensor (Seattle, Wash.)—Provides cost-effective stormwater/climate-data and predictive analytics to mitigate flooding, simplify monitoring, and streamline maintenance and operations procedures to better deploy emergency resources in weather events. Primary Partner Agency: NYCT, Metro-North Railroad, NJ Transit, PANYNJ
- The Mobility House (Belmont, Calif.)—Enables intelligent integration of electric vehicles with the grid while minimizing charging costs. The software provides insights on how to maximize electric bus availability. Primary Partner Agency: NYCT
- Runwise (New York, N.Y.)—Uses wireless technology and web-based software to provide actionable opportunities to reduce energy consumption and optimize heating in buildings. Primary Partner Agency: NYCT, Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), PANYNJ
According to the Transit Tech Lab, each year since 2019, winners are eligible for competitive funding from the New Yok State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which then “selects projects that demonstrate innovative clean transportation solutions.”
Additionally, the Transit Tech Lab says it will also expand its network of transportation experts with two new Executives-in-Residence: HNTB National Transit and Rail Market Leader Ronnie Hakim, and AECOM Transit Market Leader for the Americas Sally Librera, who will provide Lab companies strategic advice on working with public agencies. Prior to joining HNTB, Hakim served as Managing Director of the MTA, leading the Authority’s 70,000 employees across five operating agencies. Librera, also an MTA veteran, was the Senior Vice President for Subways, where she managed the agency’s 24-hour operations and led a team of 30,000 employees.
“Mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events and addressing new mobility patterns have become prominent areas of focus for public transit agencies across the country,” said Vice President of Innovation at the Partnership for New York City Stacey Matlen. “The Transit Tech Lab is proud to be at the forefront of solving these challenges with the tech sector and being part of the region’s recovery and sustainability strategy. We look forward to seeing how these six innovative companies create a more resilient transportation network and improve the transit experience for millions of riders.”
On Oct. 18, the Transit Tech Lab released the results of its Signaling Challenge proof-of-concept initiative during which four companies “completed and demonstrated how their technology can improve [New York City Transit] subway reliability and increase capacity.” The technologies included AI, LiDAR (light detection and ranging) hardware and an onboard-centric communications-based train control (CBTC) system.