Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Governor
Lhota made the announcement at last week’s MTA Genius Transit Challenge Conference.
By Forum Staff
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota last Thursday responded to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s challenge to reimagine solutions to systemic issues with the subway system by announcing he will conduct a top-to-bottom audit to overhaul the organization and present a plan within 60 days to modernize the system.
According to Lhota, the MTA, working with transit experts and top management consultants, will do a comprehensive audit of the challenges facing and limitations of the organization to identify strategies for short- and long-term transformational change. Thirty days later, the MTA will then put forward a detailed, long-term plan, in conjunction with the MTA Genius Transit Challenge, to overhaul the system, focusing on a series of MTA priorities, including changing and training personnel, implementing and executing processes that work, improving customer communication and engaging and implementing new technology.
The Genius Transit Challenge is an international competition seeking innovative solutions to modernize and improve the reliability of the city subway system. The competition will award a “genius” prize of up to $1 million for the best idea in each of the following categories:
Improve Signaling in the New York City Subway System: Accelerate deployment of modern train signaling technologies to the subway system, to increase the number of trains at peak periods and promote faster and more reliable service;
Rapidly Deploy Modernized Subway Cars to the Subway System: Obtain and deploy modern subway cars more efficiently, or refurbish existing cars in order to increase the subway system’s capacity and reliability, prevent car breakdowns, and reduce delays;
Increase Communications Infrastructure in the Subway System: Identify communications systems that will support rapid installation and deployment of modern train communications and control technologies in the subway system, to increase the subway system’s capacity and reliability.
“Millions of New Yorkers depend on the MTA every day, and we must rebuild confidence in the authority with a complete overhaul of the system – identifying the root causes of our problems and taking immediate and decisive action to fix them,” Lhota said. “It is our responsibility to transport people as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible, and the current state of the subway system is unacceptable. In tandem with the Genius competition proposals, we will deploy a multi-faceted plan to restore confidence to the MTA and prove that we can deliver for our customers.”
Lhota noted that as ridership has soared, changes to the subway system’s infrastructure have not kept pace. New York City Transit must innovate to accommodate a growing demand and to continue to be the economic engine of the city, state, and region, the chairman said.