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MTA’s Groundbreaking Live Subway Map Is a Winner at Fast Company’s 2021 Innovation by Design Awards

Updated September 21, 2021 2:30 p.m.

Live Subway Map Honored Across Five Categories at This Year's Innovation by Design Awards  

Winner in Cities Category for Inspiring Apps, and Digital Platforms

Map Will Also Be Featured in a Soon-To-Be-Published Book About Design From Fast Company  

View MTA's Award-Winning Live Subway Map


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced its Live Subway Map has won Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Award for 2021 in the Cities category and is a finalist in the User Experience, General Excellence, Mobility and Best Design North America categories. The first-of-its-kind map gives riders the power to navigate the subway system like never before — allowing riders to plan their trips more easily by taking into account service changes and seeing train movements as they happen in real-time. The creation of the map was the byproduct of an 18-month-long public-private partnership between the MTA, the Transit Innovation Partnership and Brooklyn-based global design and technology firm Work & Co.

The beta version of the Live Subway Map launched in October 2020 and has been a key tool for keeping riders informed with up-to-the-minute service information. Work & Co designed and developed the web-based digital tool on a completely pro bono basis with the goal of making the lives of New Yorkers easier. Highly customer-friendly, the map allows customers to navigate the system in an intuitive and digital way. Customers will no longer have to read through printed station signage to determine how they should travel throughout the system.

“The Live Subway Map is a terrific example of modern technology, and the private sector coming together with public transportation for the benefit of all New Yorkers,” said MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “At the MTA, we continue to harness the latest tools to help New Yorkers get to where they need to go seamlessly.”

“We are thrilled to be recognized for this incredible tool and thank Fast Company for this honor," said MTA Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer. "Our live map puts the power of the New York City subways in the hands of our customers. Our goal was to give riders the most up to date information as fast as we could — and we did. I’d like to congratulate everyone who helped create it.”

“Our live subway map is another one of the many major technological advances that New York City Transit is making to enhance the greatest mass transit system in the world,” said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. “This award is well deserved. As a subway rider, to be able to see exactly where my train is as I move around the five boroughs is an amazing tool and a great way for our customers to plan their day.”

Filmmaker Gary Hustwit documented the creation of the live map, in a short film released in late 2020 called The Map. The documentary examines the evolution of wayfinding and user interfaces and shows how good design and the latest digital technology can simplify one of the world's most complex transit systems.

The Live Subway Map has been written about in New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Ad Age, and recognized with the following awards since its launch last October:

The 10th anniversary of the awards recognize people, teams, and companies that transform businesses, organizations, and society through design. One of the most sought-after design awards in the industry, Innovation by Design is the only competition to honor creative work at the intersection of design, business, and innovation, recognizing the people, companies, and trends that have steadily advanced design to the forefront of the business conversation.

Honorees for the 2021 awards were selected in the following categories: Apps and Games; Cities; Data Design; Design Company of the Year; Experimental; Fashion and Beauty; Finance; General Excellence; Graphic Design; Health; Home; Learning; Mobility; Packaging; Products; Retail Innovation; Social Good; Spaces and Places; Sports and Recreation; Students; Sustainability; User Experience; Wellness; Workplace; Best Design Asia-Pacific; Best Design Europe, Best Design Middle East, and Best Design Africa; Best Design Latin America; and Best Design North America. New categories included Advertising, Branding, Impact, Materials, Pandemic Response, Real Estate, and Years in Business.

The judges included renowned designers from a variety of disciplines, business leaders from some of the most innovative companies in the world. Entries are judged on the key ingredients of innovation: functionality, originality, beauty, sustainability, user insight, cultural impact, and business impact.

Entries were judged by Fast Company editors and external jurors on the key ingredients of innovation: functionality, originality, beauty, sustainability, user insight, cultural impact, and business impact.

The award was announced Sept. 21, 2021 and will be featured in the October 2021 print issue of Fast Company which hits newsstands Sept. 28.

Additionally, Fast Company is releasing “Innovation by Design: Creative Ideas That Transform The Way We Live and Work,” an anthology of Fast Company’s design coverage over the past 25 years. Published by Abrams, the coffee table book includes the MTA Live Subway Map that Work & Co created.