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Most of New York’s subway system still relies on antiquated technology, known as block signaling, to coordinate the movement of trains. C., is more dependable and exact, making it possible to reduce the amount of space between trains. More than 25 years later, the authority has little to show for its effort to install modern signals.
A modern system, known as communications-based train control, or C. The L line began using computerized signals in 2009 after about a decade of work. 7, should have received new signals last year, but the project was delayed until the end of this year. It requires installing transponders every 500 feet on the tracks, along with radios and zone controllers, and buying new trains or upgrading them with onboard computers, radios and speed sensors.
As ridership exploded on the L line, which runs between Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan, the agency did not have enough train cars built to communicate with the new signals.“It took way too long, but it was a confluence of things that made it take a while,” said Richard Barone, a vice president at the Regional Plan Association, an urban policy group that has studied New York’s signals. 7 line work in 2010, but Hurricane Sandy struck two years later, damaging subway tracks and delaying the project.
And officials have been reluctant to frustrate riders by halting train service for long stretches, leaving workers with few windows to finish the work, Mr. Then there is the constant uncertainty over the authority’s finances.
It is further along in its ambitious effort to modernize its signals and has emerged as a global leader in how to upgrade an aging subway, offering lessons to New York and other cities.
In 1997, officials said that every line would be computerized by this year.
By 2005, they had pushed the deadline to 2045, and now even that target seems unrealistic.
It took about a decade to complete the signal network on the L line, and work on the No. Confronted with infrastructure dating to the 1930s and a vast system of 472 stations (the most of any subway in the world), officials are forced to decide which projects to prioritize with limited financing.
The transportation authority asked for .2 billion for signal and communications work in its latest five-year capital proposal — about 10 percent of its billion budget request — but 0 million was cut from the plan approved by state leaders last year. Cuomo, a Democrat, like the mayor, was focused on finishing the first segment of the Second Avenue subway on time, but critics say he has shown far less urgency about the deteriorating condition of the subway’s signals.