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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis April 6, 2012
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Finding Art in New York MTA System? Now There’s an App for That

A new mobile app now allows users to browse through more than 200 works of contemporary art found throughout the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA): MTA New York City Transit, MTA Long Island Rail Road, MTA Metro-North Railroad, and MTA Bridges and Tunnels.

The Meridian App for Apple and Android mobile devices now provides information about the MTA’s Arts for Transit collection. When a user selects a work of art, the app provides still images; text information on the background, inspiration, and significance of each work; and, at selected stations, video and audio clips featuring its artists.

For New York subway stations with wireless Internet connectivity, the Meridian App also provides turn-by-turn directions at select large stations to the precise locations of artworks. This indoor-navigation feature will continue to develop as the MTA adds cell and data service.

MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota called the app “a phenomenal use of technology. This app will help our customers recognize that New York’s transportation system, besides helping 8.5 million people get to work every day, is a world-class art museum with works by many of the most renowned artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.”

Sandra Bloodworth, director of MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design, added that the art collection is “a part of riding the train that people love. Now we’ve made it easier to find out more about the collection. We’d already posted a significant amount of information about our art online, but with this app, it is as if you have a museum in the palm of your hand.”

Meridian Apps—a firm specializing in place-centered apps that offer spatial navigation for museums, convention halls, stadiums, and large stores—created the app, which is officially licensed by the MTA and was built at no cost to the agency. The MTA and Meridian have agreed to share any potential revenues generated by the app after Meridian recoups the expenses it incurred in building it.

Kiyo Kubo, chief executive officer of Meridian, said: “New Yorkers have access to a huge collection of world-renowned art, and we are delighted to be able to showcase the art using the same unique and innovative mobile technology we use for many museum clients.”

More information about the app is available here.

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