May 13, 2019

What’s the best layout for a subway car?

TransLink was recently asking Vancouverites for suggestions on the best seating design for new SkyTrain cars.  Hopefully they saw this video from Cheddar on a study done for New York’s transit system:

Are the cars the MTA uses currently the best for the way we ride the subway? In 2013, researchers from Operations Planning Group at NYCT submitted their improved design to the Transportation Research Board.

(Click headline of post to show video.)

Yeah, it’s fodder for ELMTOTs*, but it also an exploration of human behaviour in confined spaces and how design affects us.


* Urban Dictionary: “Stands for Expo Line Memes for TransLink Oriented Teens. It’s a Facebook group for over 1300 kids-with-no-life to share memes of Vancouver.”

And doesn’t that screen capture above look like Vancouver?  It’s probably Long Island City, as the East River shoreline transforms into False Creek.

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  1. The optimal design (that was not chosen) looked awful for wheelchairs and bikes which would be in the most congested area of the car.

    1. Many cities disallow bikes during rush hour for that reason.

      Missing is a budget. Of course, if you spend more you get more luxury. Some cities even have 1st and 2nd class cars, but many cities do not. Some have two levels, many do not. Some cities – like Dubai – have women only cars.

  2. I rode the Canada Line from the Seabus during rush hour last week. I didn’t think the car was the problem, it was a Vancouver population who seemed to have no clue how to move during the rush. Imagine a hundred people going off in entirely random directions.

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