Every day for 100 days, Randy Gregory’s Tumblr is suggesting a different idea to make the country’s largest subway system better.

The ideas range from the radical to the simple, like painting subway stations the color of the lines they service.

Or putting Metrocard machines inside the turnstiles.

Encouraging more activity.

Bike racks on subway cars.

Drains for spills in subway cars.

Lighted starcases.

Better maps.

Straps for standing while riding.

Better swiping instructions.

Hand sanitizer in stations.

2013-06-24

100 Ideas To Improve New York City's Subway

Because every public transportation station could use some skylights and odor detectors.

There are thousands of ways that New York City could improve a system as vast and complicated as the subway. Randy Gregory is starting with just 100, posting a new suggestion to his Tumblr every day for 100 days--everything from adding skylights to sprucing up bathrooms.

Gregory, a student at New York’s School of Visual Arts, began the project as part of his coursework for a master’s in branding. “We were tasked to develop a project that we could repeat every day for 100 days,” he explains over email. “Using the subway every day for class, I couldn’t help but think ‘What if…’” On April 13, he posted his first suggestion. On July 22, he’ll reach 100.

He explains his process as follows:

The majority of my ideas are self-generated. The process is focused around observation, taking the time to see where "pain points" exist, and where there could be potential for fixes or entirely new experiences. I then take photos, and write the ideas down in one of my many notebooks. Later that day, I develop the image and flesh out the concept, and post it the same day. Some days, I’ll pick something out of the notebook, and get the photography necessary to execute the image.

Some suggested improvements are the result of checking out how other cities, like London and Montreal, do things. And with the publicity the project has gotten, Gregory is now receiving many suggestions from the public.

It’s not just the Tumblr community that’s paying attention--the MTA is too. Gregory says that he has spoken with transit officials to discuss the feasibility of certain projects. “Some of the ideas are doable, but they would require ad-buy or co-branding opportunities. [O]thers require other organizations and political factions coming together to improve the experience for the riders,” he says. The MTA is currently testing “interactive trip kiosks,” similar to one of Gregory’s suggestions, which would help users plan routes.

But the MTA probably isn’t as interested in some of Gregory’s ideas, like odor detectors and painting the stations in bright colors to match their line numbers. These are sadly the same ideas that get readers most excited. “It’s the more 'fun’ ideas that get more traction on the blog,” Gregory says. “We’re looking for the unexpected. It’s the little things that will make us smile, and enjoy riding the subway again.”

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6 Comments

  • Jonathan

    > Hand sanitizer in stations.

     

    That's not a bad idea except that they would always be
    empty, would be covered in graffiti, and, during the times they actually
    functioned, would be the source of a weird unidentifiable ooze across all of
    the parts of the subway that multiple people touch. Disgusting.

     

    > Better swiping instructions.

     

    Show an example of better instructions which fits in the
    allocated space. Remember that you may not use language. Good luck.

     

    > Straps for standing while riding.

     

    They used to have these and they took them out for a
    reason.

     

    > Better maps.

     

    I like that map except that it would be wrong at night.
    The existing written subway signs are correct at all hours except during
    construction.

     

    > Lighted starcases.

     

    They are already lit. Those lights would costs a lot of money. Bad idea.

     

    > Drains for spills in subway cars.

     

    There should be no spills. And even if there were drains,
    no liquid would flow into them because the floor is level. Another terrible idea.

     

    > Bike racks on subway cars.

     

    Keep your bike tires on the ground please.

     

    > Encouraging more activity.

     

    They already do this.

     

    > Or putting Metrocard machines inside the turnstiles.

     

    Why? Those machines cost thousands of dollars and you
    want them Inside the turnstiles? That's the dumbest idea so far.

     

    > The ideas range from the radical to the simple, like
    painting subway stations the color of the lines they service.

     

    Can people not read the signs?  If we paint the stations all the same color
    along a line, the stations will all look the same which will make them much
    less recognizable to the people that use them. I recognize where I am usually
    by recognizing what the station looks like like any other normal human. Terrible
    idea. Paint them Different colors.

     

    I see a picture of station platform doors on the Times
    Square station. The MTA released figures on how much these would cost to
    install in the system recently. It was Billions of dollars. How about free massages throughout the system too?

     

    Here is one idea that would improve the subway system
    more than all of these other ideas combined: put a rule in place saying that a
    company may not both write a request for bids and also bid on that contract. That isn't my idea, it is from the New York Times where people do not waste time promoting terrible ideas by naive design students.

    -Jonathan

  • ChristopherGeorgeLatoreWallace

    Hilarious. I thought the same thing, but don't get Nanny Mayor Bloomies involved. Who knows how he might regulate your rights even further...

  • Marketing!@TPG

    Thanks for bringing this project to our attention.  Great idea for a student project, let alone for potential implementation. Heading for the Tumblr account right now...

  • Ok7587

    안녕하세요

    뉴욕지하철앱을 만들었습니다. 한글지원은 안되지만 편하게 쓰실수있습니다.

    안드로이드는 곧 만들겠습니다.

    ^^

    감사합니다.

    goo.gl/pZByB 

    We released ny subways apps plz click on it