The MTA's been looking for ways to prevent another post-Sandy shutdown disaster in the future, and one possible solution looks suspiciously like the organ in your body that stores the pee. A giant plug that inflates and expands to seal tunnels has been developed by researchers at West Virginia University as part of something called (and we're serious about this) the Resilient Plug Project—and MTA bigwigs think this might be just the ticket to keep the subway from flooding in the wake of another storm.

The plugs—which, yes, look like huge bladders—are made of a super-durable synthetic fiber and were able to keep the flow of water down enough during flood tests so they could be pumped dry quickly. They cost about $400,000 each, which sounds pricey until you consider the nearly $5 billion in damage to the MTA caused by Sandy. They can also be tucked into smaller storage spaces when not in use, though they inflate to a size big enough to fill a small portion of a subway tunnel.

But big bladders aren't the only tools the MTA might use to stuff up the bowels of the subway system. They're also thinking of adding three pump trains to their car fleet and getting custom-built covers instead of relying on sandbag and plywood covers. And a few years ago, the Port Authority approved a plan to install steel floodgates in PATH tunnels; these gates should be operational by 2014, and will hopefully help limit flooding during a storm surge.