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Overhauling our radio communications system

Digital radio communication systems are critical to the operation of the Staten Island Railway and MTA buses. We’re replacing our old analog radio systems with new, more efficient, more reliable 700 & 800 MHz digital radio communication systems.
Updated Nov 27, 2023


  • Location
    Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island
  • Type
    Communication, Infrastructure, Reconstruction, Rehabilitation
  • Status

Area Map


  • February 2022: New Bus Command Center completed
  • Early 2024: New bus radio sites completed
  • March 2024: SIR antenna monopoles completed
  • June 2024: Entire bus fleet retrofitted with new radio equipment

Updating our radio network

The Staten Island Railway and MTA bus radio communications systems have been in service for many years. Because this legacy technology has reached the end of its useful and serviceable life, we are replacing these old analog radio systems with modern and more reliable digital radio communication systems. The new systems will help us improve service, emergency response, maintenance, and service restoration communications. The new radio systems are designed to be mission-critical and provide reliable communications during significant storms and other potential catastrophic events.

The Projects

Staten Island Railway radio system

SIR train operators, conductors, engineers, and maintainers will be transitioning to a new, 800 MHz digital P25 Phase 2 simulcast trunked radio system for day-to-day operations. This system will consist of new radio infrastructure equipment located in the train and along the tracks as well as at eight new radio sites, strategically located to provide reliable, public safety-grade radio coverage.

Seven radio base station locations have paneled antenna monopoles ranging in height from 75 feet to 150 feet above ground level in order to provide seamless coverage along SIR tracks. The antenna pole base houses critical radio equipment, and these new sites communicate with one another through network feeds on the existing SIR fiber optic network. At the St. George terminal, an additional radio base station site will be constructed and connected to a distributed antenna system that covers the terminal, station platforms, and short tunnel areas in the area south of the terminal. Additional radio consoles and a radio network controller will be installed within SIR’s existing facilities to further strengthen the network’s coverage. Construction is underway and antenna monopoles are scheduled to be complete by March 2024.

Bus radio system

There are three phases to the overhaul of the radio system used for communications supporting the MTA bus network.

Completed in February 2022, the first phase required outfitting the new Bus Command Center facility located in East New York, Brooklyn with a new computer-aided dispatching system with automated vehicle location and new radio communications consoles. This new technology allows the Bus Command Center to receive real time data from the bus fleet operating on the new radio system equipment.

The second phase of achieving system-wide mission critical radio service coverage involves the construction of 36 new radio sites throughout the five boroughs of New York City, the City of Yonkers, and New Jersey areas where MTA buses operate. These radio network sites are mostly housed in 250 sq. ft. prefabricated shelters that store radio equipment, an antenna structure, and other critical infrastructure that connects the radio sites to the MTA Bus Command Center.

These new radio sites are constructed using lattice-type towers and monopoles with some mounted on existing building roof tops. The vast majority of the radio sites are successfully operating on the new radio system, and the few remaining sites are slated for completion by early 2024. The new bus radio sites will provide effective radio transmission coverage utilizing a network of properties owned or leased by the MTA.

Once the 200-bus pilot was successfully completed, the project moved forward with the third and final phase of retrofitting the entire 6,000-bus vehicle fleet with new radio equipment and providing new portable radios to field personnel. The project is on track to successfully retrofit 50% of buses by the end of 2023. As of November 2023, more than 2,800 buses operating in all five boroughs have been successfully retrofitted with new bus radio equipment, and the entire fleet will be completely retrofitted by June 2024.

Our Commitment to Radio Frequency Emission Safety

The MTA strictly adheres to FCC recommended Maximum Permissible Exposure limits for radio signal emissions for radio systems. Our systems not only comply with the FCC rules, but they also are designed and built to emit only a fraction of the maximum permissible level of RF signals as well.