MTA seeks out experts across the globe in new “Transit Challenge”

One oft-controversial New York agency is asking for help.

In hopes of strengthening overall reliability, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on Friday, May 26 announced the launch of its “MTA Genius Transit Challenge” — a competition calling on creative minds from across the globe to help come up with ways to better the New York City’s subway service.

According to the agency, the “challenge” is “an international competition seeking groundbreaking and innovative solutions to increase the capacity and improve the reliability of New York City’s subway service” which will “challenge participants to find solutions for the system that can be implemented quickly and efficiently.”

Furthermore, the agency wrote in a press release announcing the challenge that, “The status quo and industry standards currently take too long to implement and cannot improve service as expeditiously as is needed.”

The competition will begin Thursday, June 29 with a conference at the City College of New York’s Great Hall.

At the competition’s close, Governor Andrew Cuomo will give three $1 million “genius” awards, paid by New York State, to those who have come up with the best ideas in each of three categories — how to improve the New York City Subway’s signal system; how to bring better subway cars to the system; and how to increase communications connectivity in subway tunnels.

Competitors will be presented with the issues, current solutions and best practices, and will be judged by an expert panel of technology and transportation experts.

“Governor Cuomo challenged the MTA to look far and wide for solutions to the systemic problems that have plagued our subway system for years and to reimagine traditional solutions to reduce delays and relieve overcrowding,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim. “This challenge is accepted and wholly embraced by the MTA.”

Participants will include engineers, thought leaders and other experts who specialize in wireless technology, manufacturing, business and railroad operation. Representatives from New York City and the surrounding region will also take part in the competition’s judging.

For information about how to participate, visit


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