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Alternative Technology Pilot

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The TLC is proud to announce its Alternative Technology Pilot to experiment with new and innovative solutions in taxis to modernize the taxi fleet in New York City! Through this Pilot, the TLC will partner with technology companies to test products and technologies in New York’s iconic taxis.  This is an exciting opportunity for technology companies to innovate in the New York City yellow taxi market.  The TLC hopes to gauge passenger and driver reactions to a several features in order to update its rules to allow for the best possible experience for our licensees and the riding public.  Specifically, the Pilot allows for temporary authorization of two types of systems in yellow taxis:

GPS-Based Taximeters

NOTE:  As a result of GPS meters reviewed as a part of the TLC’s Alternative Technology Systems (ATS) Pilot, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is now certifying GPS taximeters for use statewide. As such, companies may begin using GPS-based meters outside of this pilot.  If you wish to sell GPS-based taximeters in New York City outside of this pilot, please contact technology@tlc.nyc.gov for more information.

GPS-based taximeters are a step forward in taximeter technology.  Current taximeters are specialized pieces of hardware that are physically wired into the taxi and use tire rotation to calculate distance.  GPS-based taximeters calculate distance by sensing the location of the vehicle over time and can be run on standard mobile devices like smartphones or tablets, potentially making installation cheaper and faster.

Taximeters are regulated and evaluated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Bureau of Weights and Measures using standards published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). As NIST currently does not have a standard for GPS-based taximeters, the Department of Agriculture and Markets will use standards it has developed for evaluation. The Department fully intends to adopt national standards once they become available. The Bureau of Weights and Measures is cooperating with the TLC as they conduct this Pilot and intends to evaluate each GPS-based taximeter system prior to approving such system for participation in the Pilot.

Alternative Technology Systems (ATS)

Alternative Technology Systems are suites of hardware and software that provide the same core functions as existing in-vehicle technology that passengers and drivers rely on (credit card payment processing, passenger notifications, preventing unauthorized drivers from operating taxis, and more), but may do so in ways not contemplated by TLC’s rules or offer new features not currently found in taxis.  Companies have the freedom to define the exact form and functions of their systems, as long as they meet certain standards and provide core functionality described in Section IX of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The Commission approved the Alternative Technology Pilot Resolution on October 15th, 2015, and interested technology providers can review the guidelines for submitting a proposal and completing an application below. TLC will begin accepting applications to pilot either type of solution starting on December 14, 2015.

For more information, please review the Pilot Resolution, which outlines the key terms of the program.

To see a list of approved pilot participants, please click here.

If you have questions, please direct them to technology@tlc.nyc.gov.

Application Process – starts December 14th, 2015

Step 1 – Submit Application:  Interested technology providers must submit a completed application with all required supporting documents outlined in the Application Checklist below to the TLC by email to technology@tlc.nyc.gov , or by mail to Alternative Technology System Pilot, Attention: The Office of Policy and External Affairs at 33 Beaver Street, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10004. Each submission must include all required documentation. TLC staff will review all proposals, and applicants whose proposals fulfill all of the pilot program’s requirements will be contacted to schedule Step 2 — Demonstration and Testing.

Step 2 – Demonstration and Testing:  Applicants will be required to install a demonstration ATS and/or GPS-based taximeter that meets the requirements of the MOU into a TLC vehicle. Once the installation is complete, applicants will be scheduled for an interview to provide a demonstration to, and answer questions from, TLC staff. TLC staff will then complete internal testing.  As part of testing, applicants must provide trip data in the format proscribed by the Commission. Data specifications can be found in the “Application Documents and System Specs” section below. For applications that include GPS-based taximeters, testing will be done in conjunction with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Bureau of Weights and Measures. Testing will also be done in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities to ensure that all solutions comply with Local Law 57.

Step 3 – Initial Approval: If the sample ATS and/or GPS-based taximeter meet the requirements set forth in the MOU, applicants will earn TLC approval. The applicant will then receive an Approved Participant Certificate, and appear in a list of approved participants that is posted to TLC’s website. At this point, a participant will be authorized to install the ATS and/or GPS-based taximeter in its first ten participating vehicles. 

Step 4 – Re-evaluation and Expansion:After completion of certain trip milestones participants must submit a Report to the TLC detailing the performance of the participant’s system.  After review of the report, TLC may authorize the participant to install its system in additional taxis.  For a detailed authorization schedule see Section VII of the MOU.

Application Documents and System Specs

Application – All applicants must complete an application, and provide all supporting documents.

New York State GPS-Based Meter Application – All participants piloting GPS-based meters must obtain temporary approval from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Bureau of Weights and Measures.  Complete and submit this application form to the NYS Bureau of Weights & Measures to begin the meter testing process. Participants not including GPS-based meters in their application do not have to complete this form.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – Each applicant must review the MOU and provide a signed original upon submission of its application in Step 1. If the applicant chooses to submit the application via email, the applicant must include a scanned copy of the MOU in the email submission and send a signed original by mail.

Trip Data Spec  – Pilot participants must provide trip data in accordance with the MOU in the format outlined by the TLC. Specs are provided in.xls but records are to be transmitted as zipped CSV files.

GPS-Based Taximeter Breadcrumb Spec – Pilot participants must collect and transmit On-Duty Location Positioning at the same frequency at which the GPS Meter collects such information to calculate distance (GPS Meter only). Specs are provided in.xls but records are to be transmitted as zipped CSV files.

Improvement Surcharge Statement Format
– Pilot participants must enable the collection of the $0.30 Improvement Surcharge in accordance with the MOU by providing a quarterly statement to medallion owner customers in the attached format.

Improvement Surcharge Reconciliation Format – Pilot participants must enable the collection of the $0.30 Improvement Surcharge in accordance with the MOU by providing a quarterly reconciliation file to the TLC in the attached format.

MOPD Accessibility Recommendations – All solutions must comply with the New York City Administrative Code’s visual accessibility requirements. The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities will be involved in reviewing solutions and has created a list of recommended features to make systems accessible for people with wide range of disabilities.


When will the Alternative Technology Pilot begin?
The pilot began on May 7th, 2016. The TLC is still accepting applications.

How long will the Alternative Technology Pilot last?
The pilot will last for up to 12 months after the beginning of the pilot.

What type of vehicle can participate in the program and how many?
This pilot program is for yellow taxis only. Participants will be allowed to install approved systems into vehicles in small increments up to a maximum of 175 vehicles per participant.

How can yellow taxis participate in the program? Do they have to keep their existing taximeter and TPEP in the vehicle?
There are two different technologies being approved under this pilot:

  1. GPS-based taximeter and
  2. Alternative technology systems (ATS).

Participants may be approved for a GPS-based taximeter, an alternative technology system, or both. In order to participate in the pilot, yellow taxis must enter into a contract with a pilot participant to install their system in the vehicle.  If the system includes a GPS-based taximeter, it will replace the existing taximeter.  Taxis may not have two different taximeters installed at the same time.  If the system includes an ATS, it will replace the existing TPEP. Taxis may not have both an existing TPEP and an ATS installed at the same time. 

PLEASE NOTE that this pilot does not invalidate or cancel any contracts licensees may have with their current TPEP providers. 

Photo credit: NASA