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New Subway Car Design Proposals Aim To Minimize Stranger Danger

Illustration for article titled New Subway Car Design Proposals Aim To Minimize Stranger Danger

It might be time for new subway cars, and the New York Transit Authority wants to do it right. So they sent a group of researchers into the subways to stare at straphangers over three weeks and make everyone super uncomfortable. Plus gather data or whatever.

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The researchers concluded that people will go to pretty great lengths to avoid physical contact. They'll stand even when there are open seats just so they don't have to sit next to someone, and they tend to stay in the space between the doors rather than moving into the middle of the cars where all the seats are because there's less chance of brushing an arm or a knee there. Riders also prefer open areas because they have vertical poles to hold on to rather than overhead bars. When things get crowded enough people will move all the way in and fill open seats, but the cars have to be above 100 percent capacity for that to happen.

The train car layout proposals that came out of the study reflect these observations, and emphasize open spaces and a flow where passengers who are along for a longer ride may take seats out of the way, while riders with short trips can spread throughout open spaces. Gotta cut the awkward somehow. [Gothamist]

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DISCUSSION

A few things..

1) I like to stand since a) it's better for your health, b) I don't want some guy's crotch right in my face, c) it's harder to get off a crowded subway when you're sitting

2) NYC REALLY needs to do something about the crowding in the subways. The cars should NEVER get to a point where they're >100% capacity - duh... the more crowded a the subway car, the harder it is for people to get on and off, and it takes longer too.. and also increases the amount of bumping into people because you know they are forcing themselves into the subway car as you're trying to get off.

3) Somehow the new subway cars are less space-efficient than the old ones. I can tell when I'm on an older car (like the old ones that are sometimes on the A/C lines for example), there is so much more room between the two rows of seats, and they actually have poles all the way down the center so you don't have people standing right up against the seats or crowded by the doors. Not sure how they screwed up on this. It seems like maybe the walls of the car are thicker (better insulation, more space for electronics/HVAC/stuff like that maybe) and the seats stick out further.

4) NYC Transit has gone a long way with providing better signage in terms of destinations and current location, but it still could be much much better. Sometimes you can't quite hear the announcements, or see the digital displays... the maps are often hard to find and get to in a crowded car. Then there's the times where they'll use a 2 train car on the 4/5, so then you have no idea where you're friggin going.