Category Archives: event

Event Recap: Peripheral Proposals

Equity. Achieving greater equity in NYC’s transportation systems is a challenge that each presenter explored at Monday night’s Peripheral Proposals event at the Van Alen Institute. This event was part of the Van Alen Institute’s fall festival, Periphery!, which seeks to explore the ever-evolving edges of cities.

Peripheral Proposals re-capped:

  • Sarah Kaufman, our assistant director for technology programming here at the Rudin Center, announced the Rudin Center’s latest project, “Intelligent Paratransit,” funded by a grant from TransitCenter. The project, beginning with a close look at current paratransit practices and system updates, will explore ways tech can be applied to improve service and simultaneously reduce costs–especially important given the context of an increasingly large aging population.
  • Eric Goldwyn, doctoral candidate at Columbia University, presented snippets of his explorations of Brooklyn’s dollar vans. His research follows changes to dollar van routes along Flatbush Avenue and the population/demographic changes that they mirror. Discussing the overlap of dollar-van routes and bus routes, he argued that there are no “transit deserts” in NYC, saying instead that many New Yorkers “have adequate access to inadequate services.” Whether a complement to the bus system or a detractor, Goldwyn points to the apparent void that dollar-vans fill for so many commuters and that their very existence along bus routes is evidence of inadequate service. Conclusion?  Bus service is in need of a re-design.
  • David R. Jones, President & CEO of the Community Service Society, brought the audience’s attention to the financial periphery with a discussion of the affordability of NYC’s transit system from the perspective of the poorest of New Yorkers. His take-away? Given the current state of transportation funding in NYC, in order to provide reduced or free fares to those who need them most, a revenue stream must be identified to provide the funds to fill that gap.
  • Joanne Rausen, Assistant Commissioner of Data & Technology at the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, described the TLC’s efforts to make their data available to innovators and their own use of data to improve service. But, she also took the time to acknowledge that these innovations come with some difficulty as both users and providers have concerns about privacy and how the data is used. The nugget I pulled from Joanne’s presentation is that infrastructure is not just about physical structures anymore, but also about IT.
  • Lastly, Douglas Adams of the Waterfront Alliance concluded the presentations with an overview of NYC’s plans for an expanded  ferry system. Adams mentioned several important frontiers needing innovation, including better connections to other modes of transit, which may come naturally with increased density along NYC’s waterfront, and the deployment of ferry service as a critical transit alternative should one of the Hudson River tunnels come offline.
  • One brief proposal was mentioned by Adrian Untermyer selected from the Rudin Center Emerging Leaders program to respond to the panelists. In his capacity as Deputy Director of the Historic Districts Council, he hopes to bring new life, through the arts, into the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

In summary, many New Yorkers find themselves at the periphery, where reliable transportation options may not be available or may not come in an officially recognized form. It is at this periphery that innovation and leadership are most needed.

Pro-tip of the night: The question of how to successfully push for policy change was floated to the panel, in an answer slightly reminiscent of the godfather’s offer, Sarah Kaufman responded, “Present a solution that’s too good to be ignored.”

Photos by Kait Ebinger.

Event: “Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars?” with Sam Schwartz

Thursday, November 12th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
The Puck Building, The Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue
295 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012-9604

Join us to hear Sam, aka Gridlock Sam, Schwartz talk about his new book Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and The Fall of Cars. You’ll be taken on a journey from Ebett’s Field in the 1950’s to Barclays Center today and discover how the ways we get around shape the places we live.

Register here.

“A readable and provocative book making the convincing claim that the best city is one in which people can move around easily.” —Kirkus Reviews

Shashi Verma of Transport for London spoke at the Rudin Center

Shashi Verma, Director of Customer Experience at Transport for London, spoke at the Rudin Center on Wednesday, October 28th about London’s experience with next-gen fare collection systems, making the point that customers don’t want a ticket, they want transportation. During his time at TfL, Verma has focused on ways to drive down the costs associated with revenue collection and redirect those funds to improve the customer experience.
Verma’s presentation focused on how London has implemented contactless card payments and how this has and will continue to shape the London transit system. He noted that 20 percent of England’s contactless card transactions are TfL-related. The crowd was amazed to learn that riders are refunded automatically when they are significantly delayed by signal failures or other issues.

Photos by Don Pollard.

Event: Learning from London with Shashi Verma

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Doors Open: 1:30 p.m.; Event Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m.

At NYU Wagner
The Puck Building
295 Lafayette, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012

Please RSVP to Gwen Rocco at

Sponsored by Cubic Transportation Systems

Join the Rudin Center and NYU Wagner as we host Shashi Verma, Director of Customer Experience at Transport for London, for a discussion of how we can learn from London.

About Shashi Verma
As Director of Customer Experience at Transport for London (TfL), Shashi is responsible for operation of revenue collection systems, including the Oyster card; advising the Mayor of London on fares and ticketing policy; and running TfL’s customer service operations. Previously, Shashi was a Senior Principal in Corporate Finance with responsibility for Crossrail, a £16 billion project for the next railway in London.

About Transport for London
London’s Oyster ticketing system has been a success over the last decade, with nearly 10 million cards in regular use and 17 million transactions daily. Oyster has removed congestion at key stations, improved bus speed, and reduced fraud. TfL also developed an open payments system that, along with other measures, has reduced the cost of revenue collection from 14% to 9%.

Photo by Michael Summers on Flickr

Event Announcement: PERIPHERAL PROPOSALS : Models for Commuting from the Margins

Monday, November 9
Van Alen Institute
30 W 22nd Street, New York, NY

Subways are the primary mode of transportation in New York, but we need new ideas for atypical travelers: those who live on the city’s geographic and social edges. From off-the-grid dollar vans and mobile apps for commuters with limited accessibility, to ambitious proposals to connect the boroughs’ coastlines along ferry routes, we’ll explore how ad-hoc systems, new technologies, and innovating with antique infrastructure can expand transit equity.

Participants: Eric Goldwyn, journalist; David R. Jones, president & CEO, Community Service Society; Sarah M. Kaufman, digital manager and assistant adjunct professor of planning, NYU Rudin Center for Transportation; Joanne Rausen, assistant commissioner, data & technology, NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission; Douglas Adams, Waterfront Alliance

The discussion will also include new ideas from the NYU Rudin Center’s Emerging Leaders in Transportation Fellows.

This event is presented in partnership with the Van Alen Institute.

Purchase tickets here. Students qualify for free entry; please contact the Rudin Center for more information.

See you there: “The Subway Map: The Last 50 Years, The Next 50 Years”

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 will mark the 111th anniversary of the opening of the New York City subway on October 27, 1904. After 111 years, the Rudin Center will join with historians and designers at The Cooper Union for a public symposium discussing the evolution of New York City’s subway map. Admission is free, please RSVP here.


  • R. Raleigh D’Adamo, whose innovative map for the Transit Authority (TA) led the TA to jettison their long-standing three-colour mapping scheme, and to adopt a scheme in which each route is colour-coded. The same concept is still used today.
  • John Tauranac, who led the 1970s committee that created the quasi-geographic subway map that has lasted (with some changes, additions and deletions) for 35 years.
  • Peter B Lloyd, historian of the subway map and author of Vignelli: Transit Maps (RIT Press, 2012).
  • Eddie Jabbour, principal of Kick Design, a branding agency. With his son Dan, he designed the KickMap transit app, which has had more than a million downloads and has been featured in several books on information design and mapping.
  • Joe Brennan, renowned for his scholarship on the subway, who has for twenty years been maintaining a subway map that has garnered much praise.
  • Sarah M. Kaufman, Assistant Director for the Technology Programming at the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation. She formerly worked at the MTA, where she led the Open Data program and created a conference and online exchange between the MTA and software developers. That program provides the foundation for the many subway map apps for mobile devices that are now on the market.
  • For more information and an event program, please click here.

    Image (c) Reka Komoli & Raleigh D’Adamo.

    Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez Releases Report at the NYU Rudin Center

    New York City Council Member and Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez spoke at the NYU Rudin Center this morning. He released a report, “Next Stop: Making Transportation Safe and More Efficient.” His multi-point plan for improving transportation safety in the city includes parts of Sam Schwartz’s Move NY traffic congestion plan, improving subway naming and platforms, and implementing taxi driver safety measures.

    Photos by Don Pollard.

    What We’re Reading This Week

    What We’ve Read Online:

    • Schumer proposes plan to save Amtrak and NJ Transit riders in his speech at the NYU Rudin Center (Link)
    • Some of Manhattan’s uptown residents are not welcoming Citi Bike with open arms (Link)
    • Subway delays have increased on most lines, according to one study (Link)
    • Uber boosts its political savvy (Link)
    • Rethinking NYC’s buses (Link)
    • Outer space transportation: NASA’s new web app simulates control of the Mars Rover (Link)

    Photo above by: Ian Muttoo                                                                                           Post by: Sean Lewin