State Seeks Proposals to Redesign 1,025 Subway Cars, Including Up to 750 with "Open Car End" Design; New Features to Reduce Wait Times and Increase Capacity

Subway car interior with open car end design

The MTA has issued the Request for Proposals for 1,025 new and reimagined subway cars – including vital enhancements to the exteriors and interiors of regular cars, wider doors, as well as the addition of up to 750 “Open Car End” designed-cars, which will reduce wait times and increase capacity. Governor Cuomo previewed key elements that will be featured in the renovation of 31 subway stations throughout the New York Metropolitan Area, and announced that the first of several Requests for Proposals will be issued this week. The MTA is using design-build contracts to expedite the process and ensure the shortest timeframe for project completion. These vital investments are part of the $27 billion, five-year MTA Capital Program to renew and expand the MTA network. Governor Cuomo unveiled the ambitious design-plan at the Transit Museum in Brooklyn on Monday, July 18.

“The MTA is the one of the busiest transportation networks in the country and we’re taking the next step toward rebuilding and modernizing New York’s subway system,” Governor Cuomo said. “This action will increase capacity, reduce overcrowding, and enhance the customer experience while creating jobs and building for the future.”

“The MTA’s $27 billion, five-year capital program has the capacity to create tens of thousands of construction, manufacturing, engineering and other jobs,” said MTA Chairman and Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast. “We also recognize that applying the US Employment Plan to this new subway car RFP—supported by the capital program – is a great way to ensure that jobs are also retained by the these contractors and that they are constantly focused on achieving these goals throughout the multiple years of the contract term.”

The proposer must describe in the USEP the quality and range of U.S. employment opportunities expected to be created and retained in connection with the production, delivery, acceptance, testing, and warranty coverage requirements of the contract. The proposer must also describe the direct dollar value and the fringe benefit costs for those jobs, and the commitment the proposer will make to achieve that level of job creation/retention.

The proposer will also be required to submit a workforce impact analysis. The analysis identifies the workforce skills needed to complete the contract and the minimum requirements for each job/skill category, including the percentage of jobs by each job category and the proposer’s plans to develop skills of new hires necessary to meet the basic job qualifications. The analysis will also identify the proposer’s plans to provide career pathways, connecting training completion, on-the-job performance, and advancement through the organizational structure, and the extent to which such skills would be transferrable to other manufacturing positions after the end of production of the railcars.

John Samuelsen, Transit Workers Union Local 100 President, said “Taxpayer dollars that are used to buy equipment like subway cars should create good quality manufacturing jobs here, not overseas. Other agencies will likely follow the MTA’s lead. It is the largest transit agency in the country and often sets the standard for others.”

Madeline Janis, Executive Director, Jobs to Move America said, “By adopting the U.S. Employment Plan, the MTA has included a jobs disclosure and evaluation tool for the purchase of these trains that will improve New York's transit system, create good jobs and revive manufacturing in our communities that need it the most. We commend Governor Cuomo on his leadership and commitment to maximizing taxpayer dollars and improving the economic outcomes of our communities.”

Reimagined and Enhanced Subway Cars

Last week, the MTA issued the RFP for the construction of 1,025 new subway cars, which will highlight that the timeline of design and production, as well as cost-effectiveness, will be central factors in awarding the contract.

The RFP will also emphasize the need to align with MTA design guidelines, which were established after a review of best practices in a number of major metropolitan areas from around the world, and identified several key elements for use in the New York system, including:

  • Open Car End Design: The MTA anticipates that out of 1,025 new cars, up to 750 will feature an Open Car End designed. The Open Car End design replaces the door between cars with an accordion-like connector in order to create longer, open spaces, allowing for greater passenger flow movement and increasing capacity in the process. These cars have become an international standard: in London 31 percent of cars will be Open Car End by the end of the year; in Paris the figure climbs to 37 percent; and in Toronto to 56 percent.
  • Wider Doors: The door width of the new cars will be expanded from the current MTA standard of 50 inches to 58 inches. Wider subway doors can reduce delays by allowing customers to enter and exit more quickly, and have become an international standard. According to a computer simulation of passenger flow conducted on behalf of the MTA, in crowded scenarios wider doors can reduce a train’s ‘dwell time’ in the station by 32 percent.
  • Customer Amenities & Security: The interior of new cars will also feature a host of new amenities, including WiFi, USB chargers, full color digital customer information displays, digital advertisements, illuminated door opening alerts and security cameras to promote passenger safety.
  • Exterior Features: Design elements for the exterior of the new subway cars include a new blue front with large windows, LED headlights, and a blue stripe with gold accents along the sides.

Improved Subway Stations

The announcement highlighted key elements of the Governor’s initiative to create a new and improved design standard for subway stations, and undertake extensive renovations at 31 stations from across the five boroughs. The 31 stations included in the program build upon a larger campaign, designed to improve the customer experience, and includes component and renewal work at more than 170 other stations. Design elements include:

  • Enhanced lighting throughout the stations;
  • Improved signage to make it easier for customers to navigate stations, including digital, real-time updates on on-time performance at subway entrances, before customers even enter the station;
  • Inclusion of amenities, such as count down clocks, improved cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi and new art; and
  • Renovations will also consider the architectural legacy of each station, and remain sensitive to historical elements as the stations undergo redesign.

Key elements for each station type include:

ELEVATED

SIDE PLATFORM

ISLAND PLATFORM

Street Level Entrance Canopy and Totem

Street Level Entrance Canopy and Totem

Street Level Entrance Canopy and Totem

Control Area Dashboard

Control Area Dashboard

Control Area Dashboard

Transparent Windscreens

Glass or Mesh Fare Array

Glass or Mesh Fare Array

LED Light Fixtures Throughout

LED Light Fixtures Throughout

LED Light Fixtures Throughout

Furniture with Integrated Charging Stations

Furniture with Integrated Charging Stations

Furniture with Integrated Charging Stations

Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art

RFP for First Three Stations in 31 Station Renovation Program

The MTA will issue an RFP for the first package of three stations located in Brooklyn:

  • Prospect Avenue Station
  • 53rd Street Station
  • Bay Ridge Avenue Station

RFPs for the remainder of the 31 stations will be released over the next twelve months, and will be distributed across the five boroughs. The first contract is expected to be awarded in the fall. Station closures will be limited to a six-month period.

Design Build Contracts

At the direction of the Governor, the MTA is using design-build contracts for all 31 stations. Design-build contracts call for a single team to be responsible for the design and construction of an entire project in order to ensure that coordination is seamless, and that work is completed in the shortest possible time frame.

President of NYC Transit, Veronique (Ronnie) Hakim, said, “With design-build contracts, one team is responsible for both design and construction of the station. From a construction perspective, that means that there’s a seamless connection between various phases of a project, enabling the contractors to limit miscommunications, and speed the completion of the project. From the perspective of our customers, it means that they get a completely renovated station that is brighter, better, and more functional in the shortest possible time frame.”

Design Consultants

The MTA worked with distinguished and world-renowned design consultants, who hold extensive international design expertise in train and transit facilities, for its new rolling stock and station enhancements. The lead designer, Antenna Design, and engineering consultant, CH2M, have created the new subway car design. Lead designers, Grimshaw Architects, and Arup, program managers – both with offices in London and New York – spearheaded the stations’ initiative.