The New York City subway system is the very best and worst thing about our town: hopping on a train to get to just about anywhere across the city is fairly easy, but the system itself is certainly outdated, not as safe as it could be and, let's be honest, not very clean.
Meet the edge is a Brooklyn-based design studio that has taken it upon itself to try and solve some of the issues plaguing our transportation options in a new project dubbed NYC Next-Gen Subway Barrier.
The company's enticing proposal involves the sorts of subway barriers that are already in use in Tokyo, Hong Kong and some parts of London. According to the design studio, "subway barriers will provide a more comfortable experience and a much needed sense of security that has been lost."
The proposal seems to be pretty straightforward, with train cars basically running behind the barriers and the doors aligning to the blockade's openings. As explained by Meet the edge, the idea won't just function as an increased security method but it would actually completely change the dynamic of a subway ride.
"With the wall space being increased, the new real estate provides a fresh opportunity to create new spaces for riders to enjoy," reads the proposal.
Among the added conveniences would be an increase in seating availability; the chance to build small coffee shops and news stands to fit next to platform doors; more space to set up information screens, art installations and interactive displays for games across barriers; and, perhaps, the construction of standing benches where riders could potentially even use their laptops. Talk about the subway system of the future.
Meet the edge has clearly thought about the way New Yorkers use the subway before coming up with this potential solution, specifically analyzing a slew of data regarding ridership. According to the company, the city registers about 5.5. million rides a week across its 472 stations and 6,648 subway cars. In 2021, 50 people unfortunately died by falling into the tracks and the system records almost 300 track fires a year. Obviously, setting up barriers would immediately change those statistics.
"The underlying infrastructure of our metropolitan environments must be examined," reads the proposal. "The introduction of the platform doors will pave the way for an automated subway system. No interference on the tracks means trains can run without a driver, reducing costs and wait times for a more optimized city."
Alas, as made clear by the studio itself, the project is simply meant to spark curiosity and, perhaps, accelerate a conversation about the topic. Whether the subway system will change for the better in our lifetime is yet to be seen, but we must admit we're impressed with this creative new scheme.