The New York Subway is considered by many to be the best mass transit system in the world, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Randy Gregory, a student at the School of Visual Arts and frequent Subway rider, is putting his design skills to the test by exploring some possible improvements on his Tumblr, 100 Improvements. Since he’s a designer, many of his suggestions have to do with better signage, branding and advertisements, but other ideas include physical improvements to the areas inside and outside of Subway cars and stations.
Below, we handpicked 10 of our favorite innovations on Gregory’s blog. Whether it’s likely they’ll be implemented is debatable – but boy, wouldn’t it be nice?
Digital train marker: “‘Where are we?’ A common question I hear uttered on the train, especially on the weekends. A digital map, with a marker showing where your train is would help.”Designated directions on stairs: “At first glance, this could be seen as a hopeless gesture. But in countries like Japan, this works. People see the arrows, and follow accordingly, minus rush hour. A man can dream, right?”
Antimicrobial benches: “Currently, the benches in many stations are old, usually made out of wood, which isn’t easily cleaned. New benches, made out of antimicrobial material, would be easily to clean, and could become opportunities for cleaning brands to sponsor, like Lysol.“
Gym-style flooring: “A soft gym style flooring could relieve our feet from the strain of standing. Not too soft, and not too hard.”
Subway door timers: “Start them at 30 seconds, and countdown. At zero, doors close. This way, if someone sees the train with 5 seconds left, and they’re 20 seconds away, they’ll second guess about trying to run for the doors.“
Cardinal directions: “Wouldn’t it be great to step out of a train, look slightly down, and see what direction you’re in? Stations can be very disorienting, especially after a long trip. Simple cardinal directions alleviate this problem.”
Drains in subway cars: “A constant nuisance in the New York Subway system are spilled drinks… So why not install drains at both sides of the cars, in order to catch theses liquids?”
USB power stations: “With newer trains, the subway will utilize the kinetic energy created by braking. USB power stations can borrow some of this energy, so that riders with low batteries can charge up for 50 cents, all by tapping your RFID Metrocard.”
Textured grip: “Currently, we have to hold onto metal railings in the cars. It’s really easy to loose your grip though, and when the train stops hard, you could end up loosing your grip, hurting yourself or others. If the metal bars in the train had rubberized grips, this issue could be solved.
Car density tracking: “It’s a real pain when you’re standing on the platform, and the car you always get on is full… And sometimes, you miss the train, causing even more tension & anger. Live tracking, based on the weight of the cars, could determine this info. When you get to the platform, you can check the screen, and figure out where to stand. This results in better distribution of riders.”
Have a design idea to add? Let us know in the comments below.