MTA Genius Transit Challenge: Reimagining New York’s Transportation System

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently challenged the MTA to invite a World-Class Panel of Engineers, Technology Experts and Thought Leaders to participate in a competition to Develop Innovative and Groundbreaking Technology Strategies that will increase the capacity and improve the reliability of New York City's subway service.

This international competition will be launched at a conference late June, where participants will be briefed with the challenges the New York City subway service is currently facing, as well as with current solutions and best practices from around the world.


A prize of $1 million "Genius" award will be given to the best ideas in three different categories:

  • Improving the aging signal system to enable the expansion of the number of trains per hour during peak periods;

  • Addressing the subway system’s aging cars situation by refurbishment and better maintenance of the existing cars stock, or finding a solution for faster delivery of new cars; and

  • Improving communications technology for cellular and WiFi connectivity that can be installed throughout the entire subway system including tunnels.

The expert panel that will judge the competition and help guide participants includes engineers, thought leaders, and experts who have developed significant expertise in wireless technology, manufacturing, business and railroad operation. Representatives from New York City and the surrounding region will also participate in judging the competition.

The MTA's Genius Transit Challenge panelists will include:

Sarah Feinberg, Former Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration
Daniel Huttenlocher, Dean and Vice Provost, Cornell Tech

  • Charles Phillips, CEO, Infor; Former Co-President and Director, Oracle

  • Kristina Johnson, Chancellor-elect, SUNY
Greg Brown, Chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions
Nick Grossman, General Manager, Union Square Ventures
Eliot Horowitz, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, MongoDB
Balaji Prabhakhar, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Stanford University

"This is a competition that will put the best and brightest minds in technology from across the world to work for New Yorkers in improving the reliability of our transit system. The MTA is committed to delivering actionable, smart, innovative solutions in the short-term to fix problems that have festered for decades." Ronnie Hakim, MTA Acting Executive Director.

For information about how to participate, visit