New York Subway CBTC roll-out-G Grice (7)

Photo: Gregory Grice

USA: New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is to revise its programme to roll out communications-based train control across the Subway network under proposed amendments to its 2020-24 Capital Plan.

Implementation of the plan has resumed following a pause at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, amendments have been proposed to reflect the effects of the pandemic, changing ridership patterns, and the authority’s challenging funding outlook.

MTA launched projects worth $8bn in the 2021 financial year, and says it intends to launch a further $8bn of work in FY 2022. This will enable the replacement or renewal of the Subway’s oldest signalling equipment and mechanical interlockings, some of which date back more than 80 years.

The original Capital Plan had prioritised the resignalling of the Subway corridors handling the highest peak hour traffic, such as the Lexington Avenue and Astoria lines. However, MTA says shifts in ridership patterns and the availability of more modern rolling stock mean that ‘peak capacity needs are lessened in the immediate term’. It therefore intends to defer the CBTC roll-out on those routes to a future investment period, in favour of a greater focus on delivering ‘reliability and equity’.

The authority says it will now prioritise CBTC for ‘lines serving essential workers in communities that rely on transit most’. The focus of the roll-out will shift to the 6th Avenue Line (served by B, D, F and M trains), plus the Fulton (A, C), Queens Boulevard East (E, F) and Crosstown (G) lines. These rank among the least reliable on the network, according to MTA.

‘This proposed amendment will enhance equity and address emerging trends by prioritising projects that serve riders in areas that rely on transit the most’, explained MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer.