Gov. Andrew Cuomo launches the MTA Genius Transit Challenge to solve aging system’s problems
Hey commuters – if you’re so smart, why don’t you fix the subway?
That’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bright idea to repair the world’s largest rapid transit system: Tempt anyone besides the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to get it back on track with a $1 million reward.
The MTA Genius Transit Challenge revealed on Tuesday is an international competition inviting innovators to dream up signal system overhauls; design new subway cars or make over for the aging, existing cars; and set up WiFi and cell phone service throughout the entire system, including the tunnels.
A panel of judges, including Cornell Tech dean Daniel Huttenlocher and SUNY chancellor-elect Kristina Johnson, will award the mastermind behind the best idea in each category with a cool million provided by the state. And the MTA will likely contract for those systems.
Almost six million New Yorkers, commuters and tourists ride the 112-year-old subway system every day. These beleaguered riders have been suffering nightmare commutes for weeks from infrastructure issues such as signal malfunctions, switch failures and power outages that have repeatedly ground the 22-line mass transit network to a halt.
“It is no secret the New York City subway system is in dire need of upgrades and repairs, not only for the safety of commuters and visitors throughout the metropolitan area, but in order to meet the demand of travelers as ridership continues to grow,” Cuomo said Tuesday at the City University of New York, where he also announced a plan to repair Penn Station, where Long Island Railroad and Amtrak riders have also suffered increased delays.
“We were asleep at the switch for decades at the MTA,” the governor added, admitting that transit experts expect it will take five years per line to get the signals replaced, or 40 years to update the entire system.
Sign up to submit your million-dollar idea to fix the subway here.
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