AI Steps Up in NYC: Combating Subway Fare Evasion

JJohn July 22, 2023 5:11 AM

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a significant role in combating fare evasion in New York City subways. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is employing AI-assisted technology to track unpaid entries, gaining insights into evasion trends, and formulating data-driven enforcement strategies.

AI in action against fare evasion

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has confirmed that artificial intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of their battle against fare evasion in the subway system. They've implemented a system that uses computer technology to track evasions at seven stations across the city. The AI-assisted technology counts the number of unpaid entries and then compares it to the number of paid entries recorded in the system. This allows the MTA to have a more accurate tally of fare evasion incidents.

Fare evasion methods

According to the MTA's May 2023 report on fare evasion, over half of the subway evasions occur when people simply walk through the emergency gate. This is followed by 20 percent who jump or climb over the turnstile, 16 percent who sneak through the gaps, and 12 percent who duck under the turnstile. These findings underscore the variety of methods used by fare evaders and highlight the importance of using technology like AI to track and combat these activities.

Pinpointing evasion spikes with AI

One of the major advantages of AI technology is its ability to operate around the clock, providing continuous data on fare evasion activities. This will enable the MTA to identify patterns and pinpoint evasion spikes by station, day of the week, and time of day. With this data, the MTA can experiment with new enforcement strategies in a data-driven manner, allowing them to test what works best for reducing fare evasion.

The use of AI surveillance technology in tackling fare evasion is expected to expand significantly. The MTA plans to roll out the technology to about 30 stations by the end of the year. This move indicates the confidence of the authority in the effectiveness of AI tools in combating fare evasion and enhancing subway operations.

The technology powering the MTA's fare evasion fight comes from AWAAIT, a Spanish firm. The software was initially developed for use in the Barcelona subway system. The fact that the MTA chose to implement this system indicates the global potential of such AI-based solutions for public transportation systems.

The financial toll of fare evasion

The issue of fare evasion is not just about rule-breaking, but it also has substantial financial implications. In 2022, NYC's transportation authority reported a staggering loss of $690 million due to fare evasion. With such significant monetary losses, leveraging AI technology to combat fare evasion becomes an imperative for the authority.

More articles

Also read

Here are some interesting articles on other sites from our network.