MTA Press Releases

Press Release
October 27, 2020
IMMEDIATE
Companies Selected to Bring High-Tech COVID Solutions, Including Air Purification and Crowd Monitoring, to New York Metro Public Transit

Transit Innovation Partnership Connecting Eight Innovative Companies with MTA, Port Authority, NJ TRANSIT and NYC DOE to Enhance Health and Safety of Transit Network

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The Transit Innovation Partnership and partner agencies Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ TRANSIT and NYC Dept. of Education today announced eight finalists for the COVID-19 Response Challenge, a global competition calling for technologies to increase public transit safety and responsiveness in the midst of the pandemic. Selected out of nearly 200 applicants, the eight companies will now implement their innovative solutions across the NYC-area agencies for rapid evaluation. If successful, companies may be chosen for a year-long pilot to deploy their tools at scale.

The companies that will begin testing their products in an eight-week proof of concept are:

Company: Beyond (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Technology: Individually leased folding electric bikes and scooters to expand public transit access*
Primary Partner Agency: New York City Transit

Company: CASPR Group (Dallas, Texas)
Technology: Disinfection technology that works with ambient air to provide continuous air and surface protection without harmful chemicals or an operator
Primary Partner Agency: New York City Transit

Company: CitySwift (Galway, Ireland)
Technology: Provides riders and train operators with capacity levels for trains and buses
Primary Partner Agency: New York City Transit

Company: Kinnos (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Technology: Visualizes disinfection through colorized powder formula that dissolves into liquid bleach
Primary Partner Agency: Port Authority

Company: Knorr Merak (Munich, Germany)
Technology: Air filtration and purification solution
Primary Partner Agencies: New York City Transit, Metro-North, NJ TRANSIT. Long Island Rail Road is also testing this solution.

Company: Piper (San Diego, Calif.)
Technology: Collects real time passenger crowding data from trains and platforms for integration with mobile apps and in-station displays
Primary Partner Agencies: Port Authority, NJ TRANSIT

Company: Strongarm (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Technology: Wearable technology to promote worker safety and social distancing
Primary Partner Agency: NJ TRANSIT

Company: Vyv (Troy, N.Y.)
Technology: Continuous non-UV antimicrobial light to reduce bacteria/microbes from surfaces
Primary Partner Agency: NJ TRANSIT

The COVID-19 Challenge was launched in July by the Transit Tech Lab, building on MTA’s unprecedented cleaning measures to help riders return confidently to transit. Nearly 200 submissions were received. Last month five transit agencies - the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, NJ TRANSIT, New York City Department of Education, and New York City Department of Transportation – were presented a variety of solutions from 16 companies, including seven based in New York. More than 50 public and private sector evaluators reviewed submissions.

The Transit Tech Lab is a program of the Transit Innovation Partnership, a public-private initiative created by the MTA and Partnership for New York City in response to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s call for private sector innovation to improve public transit. The COVID-19 Response Challenge represents the third cohort of the successful Transit Tech Lab program. Previous graduates of the program include Remix, a collaborative digital platform used to redesign the bus routes, and AxonVibe, which built the Essential Connector smartphone app to help essential workers plan journeys during overnight subway disinfection closures. Selected companies in previous cohorts have been funded as part of a continuing partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

“We have a great group of companies we selected from the over 200 applicants who will work with MTA and the other agencies to find innovative solutions to issues created by the pandemic,” said MTA Chief Innovation Officer Mark Dowd.

“The innovative finalists of the COVID-19 Response Challenge will apply their cutting-edge technology to help make public transit safer at this critical time,” said Transit Innovation Partnership Executive Director Rachel Haot. “We are grateful to all who applied and for the leadership of the MTA, Port Authority, NYC DOT, NYC DOE and NJ TRANSIT as we work together to transform our public transit network for the challenges of the covid crisis.”

“Utilizing new technologies is one of the key pillars of an effective strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This competition, resulting in highly promising finalists, is a hugely positive step forward,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “The Port Authority is eager to see these impressive technologies piloted in real world settings and to study the efficacy of their implementation in our facilities across the region.”

“NJ TRANSIT is excited for this opportunity to once again join the Transit Tech Lab, this time for their “COVID-19 Response Challenge,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett, “given the unprecedented challenges we, and transit agencies across the country, face as a result of the pandemic. Our partnership with the Transit Tech Lab will help lead us to innovative solutions that include the latest technology advances, enabling us to maintain the safest possible travel environment for our customers and our employees.”

“Facing unprecedented challenges from this pandemic, the NYC DOE has collaborated with a number of organizations locally, nationally, and internationally in order to quickly leverage best practices based on the latest scientific research and state of the art advancements. The Transit Innovation Partnership has provided us another window into these advancements, and we look forward to exploring cutting edge approaches to operating in a completely new normal. The DOE is extremely grateful for this opportunity as it provides us a way to better serve our students,” said NYC DOE Senior Executive Director of Pupil Transportation Sean Fitzpatrick.

"I am heartened that in the face of the COVID pandemic, so many creative ideas have sprouted in an effort to keep people moving safely and sustainably around the New York City region," said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We are inspired by the innovative work of the finalists in the Transit Tech Lab's COVID-19 Response Challenge. We thank the Partnership for New York City and the MTA, along with our other agency partners, for prioritizing accessible transit — for essential workers and other commuters — during our recovery from this crisis."

*The Beyond proof of concept will not commence customer scooter use until after November 23, 2020. The Transit Innovation Partnership and MTA will work with NYC DOT to ensure the proof of concept meets the city’s guidelines and regulations.

About the Transit Innovation Partnership

The Transit Innovation Partnership is a public-private initiative formed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Partnership for New York City with the mission to make New York the global leader in public transit. A board of leaders from academia, business, civic organizations and government guides the Transit Innovation Partnership, which brings together diverse stakeholders to realize public-private projects that address top-priority challenges. Learn more at https://transitinnovation.org.