Technology in NYC Transportation
September 25, 2012

The East side of NYC is in a major gridlock this week with the UN General Assembly, with checkpoints, gridlocks, and closed streets. When you add in all the meetings, dinners, TV shows, and parties that the world’s leaders are going to, the entire city becomes a maze of detours and frustration. Just last Saturday night after midnight, a NYC police officer did not allow me to cross 6th Ave at 54th St because ‘6th Avenue was being closed’. Undeterred, I calmly walked across 54th St and hopped in a taxi up 6th Ave, then waved to the police officer as I passed him.

WNYC has done a great set of interviews covering how technology can help us improve NYC traffic and transportation.

Types of Technology Being Used

NYC has spent $300mm on hightech ‘toys’ that make transportation better. An interview with Transportation Nation’s Alex Goldmark shares information about:

Midtown in Motion — this program comprises NYC’s most congested 200 square blocks. A series of EZ Pass readers, sensors, and cameras gathers and sends info to the Traffic Management Center in Queens.  Real people in the Traffic Management Center watch and adjust the traffic signals to speed up, slow down, or synchronize these traffic signals. Then, anything from a parked car or roadblock that is causing the congestion can be managed.

NYC Subway — we need real-time information on exactly where the subway train is. Right now we know that a train is coming in say, 5 minutes, but more information would be much more helpful.

Texting — if you don’t have a smartphone, try Next Bus, where you text the number of the NYC bus and you’ll get information about the next bus or any delays.

NYC Subway WiFi Service — 6 stations are wired and 30 more NYC subway stations on the West Side are scheduled to have WiFi service by the end of 2012.


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