New York’s subway system is the best and worst in our city: hopping on a train to get to just about anywhere in the city is easy enough, but the system itself is definitely outdated, not as secure as it could be and, let’s be honest, not very clean.
Meet the edge is a Brooklyn-based design studio that has taken on the task of trying to solve some of the problems plaguing our transportation options in a new project dubbed NYC Next-Gen Subway Barrier.
The company’s enticing proposition involves the kinds of subway barriers that are already in use in Tokyo, Hong Kong and parts of London. According to the design studio, “the subway barriers will provide a more comfortable experience and a much-needed sense of security that has been lost.”
The proposition appears to be fairly simple, with train carriages essentially operating behind the barriers and doors lining up with openings in the blockade. As explained by Meet the edge, the idea will not only work as an added security method, but it would actually completely change the dynamics of a subway ride.
“With increased wall space, the new property provides a new opportunity to create new spaces for the enjoyment of cyclists,” the proposal reads.
Additional amenities would include increased seat availability; the possibility of building small cafés and newsstands to be installed next to the platform doors; more space to set up information screens, art installations and interactive screens for games across the barriers; and, perhaps, building standing benches where cyclists could even use their laptops. Talk about the metro system of the future.
Meet the edge clearly thought about how New Yorkers use the subway before coming up with this potential solution, specifically analyzing a wealth of ridership data. According to the company, the city registers around 5.5. million journeys per week in its 472 stations and 6,648 metro cars. In 2021, 50 people unfortunately died by falling into the tracks and the system records nearly 300 track fires per year. Obviously, putting up barriers would immediately change those stats.
“The underlying infrastructure of our metropolitan environments must be examined,” the proposal states. “The introduction of platform doors will pave the way for an automated metro system. Zero interference on the tracks means trains can run without a driver, reducing costs and waiting times for a more optimized city.”
Alas, as the studio itself has made clear, the project is simply meant to spark curiosity and, perhaps, speed up a conversation on the subject. Whether the subway system will change for the better in our lifetime remains to be seen, but we have to admit we’re impressed with this creative new scheme.