Friday, August 19, 2011

An element of fun in Transit Design

One of the downfalls with public transit can come with the fact that most transit agencies are government owned.  We all know that governments are burdened with the regulations and responsibility to spend their tax payers and thus voters dollars wisely.  On top of all of this there is a vocal portion of our society that decries any or all tax dollars not spent on the bare minimum of road maintenance or snow clearing, public art and infrastructure for sustainable modes of transportation are not worthy investments.  Transit therefore is most designed with a purely utilitarian purpose.

All humans need some form of fun or dynamics to help us trudge through our day.  Our city planners should be given a bit more free reign to think outside the box for transit solutions. Our transit systems could be vastly improved we would dedicate a little bit more energy towards designing systems that incorporate a bit of fun but still meet all of the necessary safety and regulatory needs.

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This sort of thinking has already taken root at a station in the Netherlands.  This station has a slide built to the side of access stairwells.  This is a great idea as who doesn't secretly wish to relive our days as a child.  Not only that but it allows you to get to the trains faster, this is much faster than taking the stairs.

When I was in Mexico, musicians were allowed to board the buses and play a quick ditty on their guitar.  Music is always a great way lift someones spirits, and more provisions should be made to allow musicians on public transit.  You could enforce rules that would only allow a musician to play for a short period of time in non-peak hours.

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Transit stations should also be designed with creative or interactive features, such as this piano stairwell in Stockholm.  These stairs work as a real piano, and they found that people would actually prefer to take the stairs as opposed to the escalator right next to it. 

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A great way to enliven our transit systems to allocate more space for art, such as these legs at Southgate station in Edmonton.  City planners should not only make accommodations for official public art but for grass root public art spaces as well.  This could be a wall that a different artist is allowed to adorn each month.

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