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New York MTA

New York MTA Plans for Essential Workers

When the pandemic hit, New York MTA had the data it needed to make important decisions quickly.


New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the country’s largest public transit authority, engaged Replica to support its implementation of congestion pricing in Manhattan. When the pandemic struck, the MTA turned to Replica to better understand, and help forecast, the rapidly changing travel behavior of its riders.


When New York issued its stay-at-home order for non-essential workers, the demands for operating safe public transportation services changed almost overnight. MTA had to design a shutdown schedule that allowed time for deep cleaning, but essential workers — including healthcare workers — were still relying on the subway system to get to work.


When 24-hour subway service stopped for the first time in over 100 years, MTA used Replica data to design a shutdown schedule that would least affect healthcare workers. Replica data helped MTA better understand — and forecast — the rapidly changing travel behavior of its riders in near-real-time, including differences among various cohorts of riders. This helped the agency offer alternative transit options that would least impact essential healthcare workers.

Key Insight & Impact

In an emergency, flexible and comprehensive tools can empower fast, informed decision-making. While MTA was primarily using Replica data to study congestion pricing policy, it was able to adapt and find the data it needed to address an urgent situation. Detailed, disaggregate data about trip-taking behaviors helped the agency better understand and address a new and specific set of needs in an unprecedented situation.