Update on COVID-19 Response Challenge

3 min readDec 18, 2020

In late October of 2020, eight companies were selected from nearly 200 global applicants to implement their innovative tools to create a healthier transit network as part of the Transit Tech Lab’s COVID-19 Response Challenge. Over eight weeks these companies worked with the MTA, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and NJ TRANSIT on proofs of concepts that showed promising results. Solutions range from micromobility and improved air filtration to new cleaning solutions for facilities, buses and subway cars. Learn about their progress below.

Challenge Finalist Updates

Beyond manufactures individually leased folding electric bikes and scooters, and have demonstrated preliminary examples of how e-bikes and e-scooters could be safely mobilized on public transit through information sessions with operations and policy stakeholders.

CASPR Group uses disinfection technology to provide continuous air and surface protection. Four units were successfully installed in a non-passenger R188 subway car and remained intact.

CitySwift provides riders and train operators with capacity levels for trains and buses. The bus data ingested in the past six weeks demonstrated how the CitySwift platform could predict capacity along bus routes, track, monitor and automatically report performance, predict run times, and optimize timetables.

Kinnos’ visualizes disinfection through a colorized powder formula that dissolves into liquid bleach. Kinnos conducted a three-week test on 15 high touch surfaces within a Port Authority facility bathroom. With the Kinnos additive, the Port Authority measured a 63% improvement in disinfection coverage.

Knorr provides an air filtration and purification solution for vehicle HVAC systems. The company has installed its units for testing and conducted periodic air quality measurements on Metro-North Railroad trains.

Piper anonymously collects real-time passenger crowding data from trains and platforms for integration with mobile apps and in-station displays. They temporarily installed solid state LiDAR units at each end of a PATH PA5 train car and in four PATH stations to collect data. The team was able to process the data from the wayside receiver to the cloud for processing train car occupancy in real-time.

Strongarm has developed wearable technology to promote worker safety and social distancing. When two wearers are within 6 feet or less of each other FUSE sensors provide real-time feedback to employees to promote distance correction. The COVID-19 Response Taskforce was briefed over the course of two information sessions.

Vyv’s technology uses continuous non-UV antimicrobial light to reduce bacteria/microbes from surfaces. They successfully installed three anti-microbial light fixtures at NJ TRANSIT headquarters, which offered continuous kill of organisms while spaces were actively used and required no additional intervention.

In the coming months, selected companies will have an opportunity to pursue a year-long pilot to operationalize their technology across regional transit agencies. Thank you to the participating companies and transit agency team leads for an outstanding job and collaboration. We look forward to a productive year ahead.




The Transit Tech Lab is an accelerator program for public transportation solutions launched by the @MTA and @Partnership4NYC