Why New York Subway Lines Are Missing Countdown Clocks

The Regional Plan Association has its offices at 4 Irving Place, in the Con Edison building. I went there one recent morning to talk to Richard Barone, the director of the RPA’s Transportation Programs and the author of their 2014 report on CBTC, “Moving Forward: Accelerating the Transition to Communications-Based Train Control for New York City’s Subways.” The RPA is a kind of urban-policy think-tank that focuses on the tri-state area. Its main outputs are tomes it calls Regional Plans, the first three of which were released in 1929, 1968, and 1996. The fourth is due to come out soon.

I was there to find out why CBTC was taking so long and costing so much. “You try to benchmark New York to other places and you can’t,” he said. Everything is harder here. Everything takes longer here.

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