New York

New York

Transforming transportation

A huge investment in New York’s subway system includes smart technology that will improve efficiency and increase train and passenger capacity.

Saving the subway

Two years after the infamous ‘summer of hell’ in 2017, when sweltering subway passengers suffered train breakdowns, derailments, and only 65% of weekday services running on time, New York State has invested more than $40 billion into the subway system. This is part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $54.8 billion investment plan for 2020 to 2024, which also covers buses and other forms of public transport.

The New York City subway is one of the oldest and largest in the world, with 1,070 kilometers of track and 472 stations. The investment includes a vast range of upgrades, including modern signaling and accessibility improvements. For example, although built over a century ago, the Queens Line now benefits from Siemens Trainguard MT Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC). This automation technology has increased train and passenger capacity on one of the subway’s busiest lines.

Proposed New York City Transit Authority investment, 2020–24, $m
Source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Safer travels

In 2019, the New York City subway carried an average of 5.5 million people every weekday. Like many other cities, this dropped dramatically during the pandemic, reaching a low of just 7% of its ridership in spring 2020. Projections estimate that ridership may reach 80 to 92% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024.

Reduced ridership is of course having an adverse impact on funding sources for the critical infrastructure upgrades, which could mean the city needs to take a more flexible approach to operation without compromising safety. A greater reliance on digital solutions such as the Positive Train Control (PTC) system installed by Siemens in 2020 delivers efficient scalability, and helps to improve safety for passengers and subway employees.

Impact of pandemic on daily ridership and traffic, 7-day average
Source: Gothamist

Electric fleet

New York City’s OneNYC strategy seeks an 80% sustainable mode share by 2050, whereby commuters undertake their journey by foot, bicycle, or public transport. The alternative is widespread adoption of electric and green-fuel vehicles.

The city is taking steps to achieve both paths to its objective. For example, the entire city fleet is transitioning to electric vehicles, including emergency services and garbage trucks. Siemens has been helping to convert the city’s almost 6,000-strong bus fleet using high-efficiency electric motors and rapid charging systems.

New York in numbers


Pre-pandemic annual ridership on the New York City subway in 2019

Source: MTA


MTA operations help to avoid 17 million metric tons of greenhouse gases

Source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority


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