A colourised powder formula for improved disinfection, a micromobility firm that studies how e-bikes and scooters can be integrated into mass transit, and a tool that optimises bus performance were the three pilot programmes selected for the New York Transit Tech Lab’s COVID-19 Response Challenge.
The Transit Tech Lab – a public-private initiative created by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Partnership for New York City – launched the Challenge last year in response to the pandemic.
After receiving over 200 global applicants, three companies, Kinnos, Cityswift and Beyond, were selected after 12-week proof of concepts, and will now scale their solutions across their respective partner agencies – with pilots expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
Speaking to capitaltribunenews.com, Natalia Quintero, Senior Vice President of Innovation at the Partnership for New York City, said: “Really, the challenge, and what we’re now seeing moving into the pilot phase, is that exploration of new uncharted territory and finding innovative technology partners that can help us find a path forward.
“For us that means looking at how public infrastructure – specifically subways and buses – adapt to new travel patterns and safety issues that may arise.
“I think we’re really facing the same questions that a lot of large cities are facing, and we’re looking for solutions.
“We’re in touch with other cities too, like London, Los Angeles and Berlin, to get a sense of what they’re doing and whether there’s anything that we should be applying and learning there as well.”
The three winning firms were: Beyond, a New York-based micromobility company that demonstrated preliminary examples of how e-bikes and e-scooters could be “safely mobilised” on public transit; Cityswift, an Irish start-up platform that predicts capacity along bus routes and tracks, monitors and automatically reports performance and predicted run times to produce optimised timetables; and Kinnos, a Brooklyn firm that produces Highlight, a proprietary colourised powder formula that dissolves into liquid bleach to improve disinfection on public transit.
“Partnering with the Port Authority to validate Highlight’s ability to improve disinfection quality in a quantifiable way and adding to our growing body of scientific evidence has been a fantastic experience,” said Jason Kang, CEO of Kinnos.
“We’re proud to add this validation for Highlight’s broad application potential and excited to be enhancing the health and safety of public transit.”
This year’s challenge is the third cycle of the Transit Tech Lab programme, with previous winners including Remix, who developed a collaborative digital platform used to redesign bus routes, and Axon Vibe, which built the Essential Connector smartphone app to help essential workers plan journeys during overnight subway disinfection closures.
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