Second Avenue Subway   © Arup

Second Avenue Subway

Defying geographic boundaries

Arup has played a vital part in the development of an innovative online mapping application – or geographical information system (GIS), to assist with preliminary planning of New York’s proposed US$17 billion Second Avenue Subway.

Arup’s role in implementing this web-based capability has provided valuable cost efficiencies for the client, MTA New York City Transit, by providing 24-hour service unhampered by geographic location. The primary feature of the GIS is that all spatial project data can be viewed through a standard Internet Explorer; desktop or three-dimensional application anywhere in the world, without the need for data conversions.

This flexibility and ease of portability allows staff working on the subway to connect to the central database at any time to access up to date information about the project.

Arup added value by:

  • Creating an online database for the Second Avenue Subway development that allows engineers and project managers to access project data anywhere, anytime.
  • Developing the database to incorporate all types of geographical information in order to assist in the route alignment of the new subway.
  • At the completion of the project, the GIS will provide the MTA New York City Transit with a comprehensive project management tool that can be adopted and easily maintained.

Working freely and without geographical constraints on one of the world’s largest and most complex infrastructure projects has demonstrated Arup’s ability to deliver global solutions locally. Our GIS expertise included staff from Australia.

In addition, the GIS also provides the MTA New York City Transit with a comprehensive project management tool that can be adopted and maintained at the completion of the Second Avenue Subway project.

Paving a virtual path

The new subway line – the first for New York in over 50 years – will run the entire length of Manhattan and will include 16 new underground stations running along 8.5 miles of twin track. The geology of Manhattan varies along its length.

The subway will pass through both rock and soft ground and there will be multiple rock/soil interfaces along the alignment. The subway line will comprise bored and cut-and-cover tunnels, and mined and cut-and-cover stations. The complex interaction between the existing infrastructure, buildings and the subway in realizing this project is particularly challenging and crucial.

GIS 3D modelling for Second Avenue Subway, New York    © Arup
GIS helped with 3D modelling of the route alignment

The GIS online database assists with this interaction by collating and generating information for the entire Second Avenue Subway route alignment.

The database includes information about platforms, track alignment, street kerbs, work locations, borehole locations, transit districts, historic districts, tax lots, easements and building footprints.


MTA New York City Transit


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