Israeli tech to help ease New York City traffic woes

From the grape vine

July 9, 2019

Having a car in New York City can often be a pain, which explains why the majority of its residents rely on a combination of taxis and public transportation to get around. If you’re on the Upper West Side, it’s simply easier to hop on a subway to Lower Manhattan than to crawl your way through traffic.

But public transportation in the Big Apple has its fair share of problems as well. While other international cities like London and Paris are quickly expanding their subway systems, new upgrades in Manhattan have frequently been plagued by delays and cost overruns. “It’s sort of like a dark money pit where money just keeps getting thrown at projects,” Corey Johnson, who is running for mayor, told New York Magazine about the Metropolitan Transit Authority. “When the projects are being negotiated, many, many times, the MTA just signs off on what the contractors put in front of them. There’s no forensic auditing or effort to see if costs have been inflated in an unscrupulous way.”

That topic was on the mind of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who traveled on a recent trade mission to Israel. He was joined by MTA Managing Director Veronique Hakim. While in the Mediterranean country, they met with several Israeli startups in the hopes of finding new technologies that could help ease New York’s transportation woes.

One such company was the Tel Aviv-based Axilion, which is a leader in the “smart mobility” space. Among other things, their technology coordinates traffic lights to give preference to oncoming public transportation vehicles like buses. Their software can result in a 40% shorter commute time as well as a substantial reduction of emissions.

Cuomo announced that he would also be looking for transportation ideas from Cornell Tech – a joint venture between Cornell University and Israel’s Technion Institute – that is located on Roosevelt Island. The school was founded in 2012 and brings together academic minds from both continents.

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