QMT and HLC Equipped with Waze Beacons

MTA Bridges and Tunnels announced today that Bluetooth powered Waze Beacons have begun operating in the Queens Midtown and Hugh L. Carey Tunnels. The beacons make continuous GPS functionality possible in the tunnels, allowing motorists to receive timely voice commands, hazard info, and traffic information inside the tunnels where there is limited to no GPS service.

A total of 313 beacons, 128 for Queens Midtown & 185 for Hugh Carey, have been spaced roughly 100ft apart in both tunnels. Covering just under 6 miles of tunnel, the beacons are affixed to the tunnel walls using an industrial grade adhesive that can withstand power washers and brush washers. Each beacon has an estimated lifespan of 4 years.

“We are excited to bring this innovative technology to our tunnels as it will provide significant benefits to motorists by providing uninterrupted real-time traffic data that enhances the customer experience,” said Veronique Hakim, MTA Managing Director. “Together with Cashless Tolling, this further underscores our commitment to modernizing our facilities so we can better serve customers now and for many years to come.”

Customers, especially those who are least familiar with the tunnels and surrounding streets, can now receive uninterrupted navigational information inside the tunnels, and a seamless transition in voice directions from the tunnel, to the plaza, to the city streets. This will provide drivers with greater situational awareness throughout their entire trip.

The beacons will also assist MTA Bridges & Tunnels in providing the most up to date facility and roadway information through as many outlets as possible. MTA B&T communications strategy includes partnering with outlets like Waze, through the Waze Connected Citizens Program, to provide real-time information about construction, road closures or emergency events that may impact facilities.

To successfully utilize the beacons, users will need to activate Bluetooth on their phone at the beginning of their trip. However, a prompt will appear if the Waze user selects a route with beacons and their Bluetooth function is not activated.

Powered by Eddystone beacon technology, Waze Beacons are an affordable, scalable, open-source solution that have Waze-specific configurations to transmit messages directly to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, and used as an alternative to GPS signal. The beacons collect no data from vehicles. Waze beacons are FCC and CE approved.

Seven cities have Waze Beacons installed & operational including Boston, MA; Pittsburgh, PA; Chicago, IL; Haifa, Israel; Rio, Brazil; Paris, France; Florence, Italy; Jihlava, Czech Republic.