Companies are Selected to Bring High-Tech COVID Solutions, Including Air Purification and Crowd Monitoring, to New York Metro Public Transportation

Oct 27, 2020 | Press Releases

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

NEW YORK – 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.

“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.”

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

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

Company: CASPR (Dallas, TX)
Technology: Creates oxidizing molecules through ambient air via HVAC units
Primary Partner Agency: New York City Transit Authority

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

Company: Kinnos (New York, NY)
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 Agency: New York City Transit Authority, Metro-North, NJ TRANSIT

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

Company: Strongarm (New York, NY)
Technology: Wearable technology to promote worker safety and social distancing
Primary Partner Agency: NJ TRANSIT

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

The Transit Tech Lab COVID-19 Challenge launched in July, 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, New Jersey 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.

Our commitment to safety and security goes hand in hand with our work to upgrade the technology at Port Authority facilities to meet 21st century global standards. The Transit Innovation Partnership COVID-19 Response Challengehas fostered new ideas from Kinnos and Piper and helped us reimagine our work at the Port Authority as we tackle the new challenges of COVID-19,” Port Authority Chief Technology Officer Robert Galvin.

“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.”

“Innovation is the key to developing new products and establishing strategic partnerships such as this as we continue to modernize NJ TRANSIT and enhance the customer experience,” said NJ TRANSIT Chief Information & Digital Officer, Lookman Fazal.

“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 24, 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.

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