IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Why is New York City using AI-powered surveillance at some subway stations?

Answer: To prevent fare evasion.

A black sign on a white tile wall that says "Downtown & Brooklyn" in white font next to the letters "N," "Q" and "R" in black font on yellow circles, followed by a white arrow pointing down and to the right towards a set of stairs into a subway station.
Anyone looking to ride the New York subway without paying may want to think twice. It’s become such a problem that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has turned to AI surveillance to try and put a stop to it.

The software, created by Spanish AI developer AWAAIT, analyzes footage of people passing through the station. When it catches someone going through without paying, like jumping the turnstile, it sends a photograph to the smartphones of nearby station personnel. The technology is currently in place in seven undisclosed stations and eight physical barriers. The MTA is planning to expand it to two dozen more locations by the end of the year.

The system does not report anything to New York City law enforcement, just MTA personnel. Videos recorded by the software are stored on MTA servers only “for a limited period,” according to MTA Communications Director Tim Minton. He stated that the system is essentially being used as a “counting tool” to figure out how many riders are avoiding paying and how they’re doing it. The idea is that this information will be helpful in future efforts to prevent fare evasion.