8 Ingenious Ways to Improve the Subway System

If you live in a city lucky enough to have one, your relationship with the subway/L/T/metro/underground/tube is probably fairly complicated. The convenience and cost-effectiveness of mass public transit is unparalleled, but that doesn't mean that the experience itself is going to be pleasant—and that's putting it kindly.

In an effort to encourage the powers that be to implement some sure-to-be-lauded changes, designer Randy Gregory is posting a different idea for improving New York City's subway every day for the next 100 days. And he's definitely making an effort to leave no insufficient stone unturned. In a mission statement on his Tumblr, he explains:

For the next 100 Days, I will propose various improvements to the New York City Subway, which in 2012 had 1.6 billion riders, and should be seen as the best subway in the country, if not the world. I'll be exploring various ideas, from UX, Environmental, Co-Branding, Audio/Visual, and more, including potential interviews with MTA employees, all in an attempt to create discussion.

Sure, we'll probably never see some (or even most) of these ideas implemented in any of our lifetimes, but at the very least, Gregory is helping to spark a discussion worth having. A few of our favorite concepts follow, but be sure to check out the rest of his work on Tumblr—after all, there are still 40 days left to go. [Improve Subway]


8 Ingenious Ways to Improve the Subway System

Safe passage between cars. Despite the signs forbidding it, people are always walking between cars while the train's in motion. Actual walls would cut risk.


8 Ingenious Ways to Improve the Subway System

Gym-style flooring in cars. Much more foot-friendly when standing during long commutes.


8 Ingenious Ways to Improve the Subway System

Drains in subway cars. All sorts of liquids get spilled, whether they be of the beverage or bodily variety. At least this way, those fluids would have somewhere to go.


8 Ingenious Ways to Improve the Subway System

USB power. Using kinetic energy generated by the trains themselves would benefit passengers immensely—this is both highly sustainable and a good way to generate revenue. Just charge a few quarters a pop.


8 Ingenious Ways to Improve the Subway System

Protective barriers and doors. People falling onto the tracks (for whatever reason) happens way too often. This would solve that problem while providing additional ad surface—another important part of the public transit ecology, like it or not.


8 Ingenious Ways to Improve the Subway System

Preventative bars. People sliding in at the last minute and trying to pull open the doors is obnoxious. This would be a major deterrent.


8 Ingenious Ways to Improve the Subway System

Designated directions on stairs. It might be too much to hope for, but people can be surprisingly obedient.


8 Ingenious Ways to Improve the Subway System

Skylights. This would make waiting around underground worlds more pleasant, and it shouldn't be overly difficult to implement, either.