MTA Finds Savings for Second Avenue Subway Phase 2


At the start of the year, the MTA announced that it could reduce the overall cost of Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway by $1.3 billion by adjusting its designs and standards, doing more upfront planning, and improving project management. As more details emerge on how the MTA is reducing Phase 2 costs, and while the design work for Phase 2 isn’t complete and the main contracts haven’t been tendered, it is clear that the MTA is learning from past projects and adapting best practices from other projects and research to New York.

Last year, the Transportation and Land Use program, led by Director of Transportation and Land Use, Eric Goldwyn, published its Final Report and New York Case Study on the cost drivers of domestic transit projects. In that time, agencies like New York’s MTA have begun to adopt some of their recommendations. For example, Goldwyn and his team emphasized the need to build stations that match international standards; specifically they called for limiting the size of station boxes and back-of-house space. They documented Phase 1 of the Second Avenue Subway’s station dimensions and compared them to stations in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Turkey. They found that in countries with lower costs than New York, station boxes tended to be 2% to 20% longer than the station’s platform length, whereas in New York, station boxes for Phase 1 were 60% to 160% longer than the platform’s length.

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