Category Archives: photos

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.

Senator Chuck Schumer spoke at the Rudin Center

Senator Chuck Schumer​ visited the NYU Rudin Center today to outline a plan for new Hudson River tunnels, including the establishment of a Gateway Development Corporation with multi-stream federal financing.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Speaks on a Rudin Center Panel

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx visited the NYU Rudin Center on July 21st. He spoke about “Transportation, Social Mobility, and Cities,” on a panel with David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York, Sarah M. Kaufman, Assistant Director for Technology Programming at the NYU Rudin Center, and Patrick Sharkey, Associate Professor of Sociology at NYU. The panel was moderated by NYU Rudin Center Director Mitchell L. Moss.

The discussion focused on improving access to education and job opportunities, as featured in the Rudin Center report “Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods.” Secretary Foxx shared his childhood experiences that led him to value the importance of transportation in upward mobility. Sharkey emphasized the need for low-income populations to escape clustering effects. Jones explained the exceptional difficulties faced by low-income workers trying to travel in NYC, and Kaufman recommended the use of data for intelligent transit planning.

Photos by Don Pollard.

The Future of the Streetscape Photos

Last night’s discussion about the future of the streetscape was exciting! We’re looking forward to a collaborative planning process for whatever comes our way. Thanks to our thoughtful and energetic panelists:

  • Sean Basinski, Director of the Street Vendor Project
  • Neil Giacobbi, Executive Director, Public Affairs, AT&T
  • Stacey Hodge, Director of the Office of Freight Mobility, NYCDOT
  • Jeff Risom, Partner and Managing Director, Gehl Studio
  • Dani Simons, Director of Corporate Communications & External affairs, Motivate
  • Rodney Stiles, Director of Research & Evaluation at New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission
  • Anthony Townsend, Senior Researcher at NYU Rudin Center for Transportation
  • Moderator: Sarah Kaufman, Assistant Director for Technology Programming, NYU Rudin Center for Transportation

and thank you to the Van Alen Institute for the great photos and gracious hosting.

What we’re reading this week

Image above: Cardboard apartment, via Andere Achterhuizen on Flickr

This is what we’re reading this week on the web:

  • New Yorkers are ditching buses for subways (link)
  • Middle East politics: now arriving at a station near you? (link)
  • Afghan girls, forbidden from riding bikes, are skateboarding instead. (link)
  • A MetroCard redesign we’re excited about (link)
  • The bright lights of NYC may dim (link)
  • Cortland St. station on 1 line receives a long overdue facelift  (link)

Compiled by Sean Lewin, research assistant.

Taxi Shift-Change Hackathon: Event Recap

The NYU Rudin Center joined forces with NYC’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to help resolve the taxi shift-change issue- when taxis are unavailable between 4 and 6 p.m. due to driver handoffs of vehicles. The hackathon took place on April 11 at the Rudin Center, under the sponsorship and technical guidance of Google.

Data scientists, civic hackers, graphic designers, analysts, government policymakers, and statistics hobbyists gathered to discover solutions to the taxi gap, which is estimated to miss out on about 11,000 rides daily.

We’ll post some of the solutions soon (the hackers are still hacking!), but in the meantime, here are some pics of the event:


NYC TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi kicked off the event, sharing the challenges and concerns of her agency; NYU Rudin Center Director Mitchell L. Moss discussed the importance of taxis to mobility in NYC; NYC TLC Director of Research and Evaluation Rodney Stiles presented the event-related data and the shift-change issue specifics.

The 40 hackers plugged away all day long, sharing results along the way.


Participants were treated to a Q&A with current taxi drivers, who added the on-the-ground perspective to this work.

NYC taxi drivers respond to participant questions at the NYC TLC Shift-Change Hackathon on April 11, 2015.
NYC taxi drivers respond to participant questions at the NYC TLC Shift-Change Hackathon on April 11, 2015.


The NYU Rudin Center is thrilled to have hosted this first event of its kind. We hope that in the future we can help connect the public sector with smart, thoughtful individuals to work toward  solutions for civic issues.

Thanks to our participants, the NYC TLC and Google.


Big Data Fest

The NYU Rudin Center presented our Transit Access and Jobs report and map at the NY Hall of Science’s Big Data Fest this weekend. Sarah Kaufman (Digital Manager) and Jorge Hernandez (Research Assistant) met a variety of people both casually and professionally interested in big data; many of them had stories about how their commutes affected their job opportunities.

Thanks to all who stopped by to talk!

Jorge Hernandez and a visitor at the NY Hall of Science
Jorge Hernandez and a visitor at the NY Hall of Science

Excellence in Transportation Breakfast

The Rudin Center for Transportation celebrated Excellence in Transportation at the annual breakfast, hosted by The Modern on March 12. Keynote speaker David Plouffe, Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy at Uber, discussed the company’s collaborations with cities and suburbs to improve transportation for the twenty-first century.

Event photos follow.

Apps for Street Safety

The best app for keeping pedestrians safe in NYC? One that tells them, on their phones, whether the street they are about to cross has a “don’t walk” sign lit. This app, Tug, was one of the winners of AT&T’s Connected Intersections Challenge; the NYU Rudin Center hosted the awards ceremony this morning.  See the video to learn more about the challenge:

The winners of the Challenge were:

Solutions for Pedestrians & Cyclists – Grand Prize Winner & Popular Choice Winner
Utilizing low-energy Bluetooth technology, messages are sent from crosswalk signs to all smartphones at the intersection running the application in order to alert pedestrians to wait for oncoming traffic or to cross safely when they have the right of way.

Solutions for Drivers – Grand Prize Winner
Anti-Sleep Alarm
Using a Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch and a smartphone, the Anti-Sleep Alarm app detects the drowsiness of a driver via hand gestures or facial recognition and prompts the driver to pull over and rest or it sets off an alarm if the app determines the driver is falling asleep behind the wheel.

Solutions for Pedestrians & Cyclists– Second Prize Winner & Multi-Modal Winner
Rider Alert
Rider Alert hardware scans the street for Bluetooth-enabled smartphones while moving through traffic with a motorist. It will sound an alert on smartphones running the Rider Alert application when pedestrians and cyclists are nearby. The app also uses smartphone sensors to notice if the driver is looking at the smartphone screen and warns the driver to look up.

Multi-Modal Winner
Utilizing Bluetooth low-energy technology, Yield detects drivers or pedestrians within 10 to 30 meters in proximity of a smartphone using the app and delivers an alert notifying them to the other person’s presence.

Solutions for Drivers – Popular Choice Winner
Drowsy Detector
Using facial recognition technology, the app determines when a driver is getting drowsy and sends a warning followed by an alert that can be deactivated only when driving is ceased. The app also sends alerts to others in the area that a drowsy driver is nearby.

Solutions for Drivers – Second Prize Winner
Drive Safely
An app that uses NFC technology to determine if a smartphone user is sitting in the drivers seat of a vehicle and sends an auto-reply message to incoming calls and texts while the vehicle is moving The app runs in the background and will not activate on public transit or when the smartphone owner is a passenger in a vehicle.

Solutions for Pedestrians & Cyclists – Large Organization Recognition Award
Look up!
Utilizing GPS technology, smartphone accelerometer and wearable sensors, the app anticipates when a pedestrian is crossing an intersection and delivers an on-screen alert warning the pedestrian to look up.

Solutions for Drivers – Large Organization Recognition Award
SafeDrive App
An app that awards points to drivers for not texting while driving and provides the smartphone owner the opportunity to redeem those points for products and services at partner companies.

The judges were:  Marissa Shorenstein of AT&T; Kim Wiley-Schwartz of the New York City Department of Transportation; Mitchell Moss of NYU Rudin Center for Transportation; Matthew Brimer of General Assembly; Luke DuBois of New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering; and Justin Hendrix of NYC Media Lab.

Event photos below; we highly recommend checking out the apps.


Event Recap: Short Talks, Big Ideas

Last night’s Short Talks, Big Ideas featured the best in transportation innovations of late:

Arlene Ducao showed off her MindRider brain wave-tracking bike helmets, which help map biking stress points in NYC.

Richard Dunks discussed the missing link in data processing (what to do with all this data), focusing on his Water Street Corridorscope project (with Jeff Ferzoco).

Paul Salama showed the potential for green loading zones, such as priority delivery windows for electric trucks.

Jose Soegaard taught us the importance of a functional NYC waterfront, including ferries that have been used in emergency evacuations.

Malinda Foy showcased new work at MTA Bridges and Tunnels, and fielded several questions about potential for biking on bridges (answer: hopefully!).

Neysa Pranger dove into potential uses for beacon technology to improve transit by sharing applicable information to riders’ devices.

Ryan Russo shared Vision Zero’s important initiatives to improve pedestrian safety in New York City, estimating that two million speeding tickets will be issued in 2014.

John Biggs discussed travel in reality and fiction, including his new young adult novel, “Mytro,” featuring a magical worldwide subway.

The event was moderated by Sarah Kaufman, NYU Rudin Center for Transportation. Please contact her if you have a big idea to share at the next event.


See the photos below (by Lauren Holter and Sarah Kaufman, in a very dark room) and visit the tweetstream for further discussion.