NYC subway testing new tech to help signals

The MTA is testing new technology called ultra-wideband radio, or UWB, to help fix the agency's decades-old signal system.

"It's a wireless system which would have transponders positioned on the walls and ceilings of subway tunnels and on a wireless basis would be integrated with the communication-based train control," MTA President Pat Foye said.

Right now, the communication-based train control he mentioned is new and only exists on the L train and on parts of the 7 train. UWB would work with the train control on those lines and eventually other lines when the new signals become more widespread. It would also let riders use their cell phones underground inside subway tunnels.

"Would enable us to know who is on the tracks and who is under the tracks and who is left," Foye said. "So from a point-of-view of customer safety and employee safety the possibilities are really exciting."

This technology is still in its infancy. At the moment, the MTA is test it as a demo along the F and G lines in parts of Brooklyn.

Foye didn't have an exact time frame for the technology's expansion. He said seeing how well UWB works will take some time before it becomes more widespread.