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With a modern signal network, trains on the system could run closer together and therefore more frequently, allowing the subway to absorb more riders as the city’s population grows. Another major city with an even older — although smaller — subway system is also confronting soaring ridership: London.
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.
The request reflected the need, and it was higher than in the previous two capital plans, when the agency requested .4 billion, on average, for signals and communications. Transit advocates say the agency must pour more money into signal work and accelerate the schedule.“Fifty years is way too far out there,” Thomas F.
Though many New Yorkers believe that Mayor Bill de Blasio runs the subways, the agency is, in fact, controlled by Gov. Prendergast, former chairman of the authority, said in his final interview before leaving the job in January.
“We have to find a way to shorten that.”New York’s more than century-old subway has been essential to the city’s growth, but there is increasing alarm that after years of progress, the system is sliding backward.
To accommodate the nearly six million riders who take the subway on weekdays — the highest level since the 1940s — the authority is spending billions of dollars on new stations and more spacious trains.
But the rollout of a new signal network is unfolding at a glacial pace even as the subway system is straining under the demands of a booming ridership.
Two decades after the agency began its push to upgrade signals, work has been completed on just one line.
Signal problems account for about 13 percent of all subway delays, and are the second most common reason for weekday delays, after overcrowding, according to statistics from the agency. is also safer because trains can be stopped automatically.
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.
At the current pace, transforming every subway line could take half a century and cost billion.
The signal system is the hidden, unglamorous backbone of the subway, controlling when trains can move down the tracks.
But it is so outdated that it cannot identify precisely where trains are, requiring more room between them.