Sunday, 25 October 2009

A clean-living, up-to-date, squashed way of life

I love the subway. This may be sad, but it's true. Maybe it's because I'm orignially from a tiny place in the countryside where trains haven't quite reached yet. Moving from home, living in Glasgow myself for the first time before I came to Dundee brought much appreciation for the city and a kind of awe of :'this can take me...anywhere, yes!' Without having to wait two hours for a bus. The Clockwork Orange in Glasgow does do one circuit around the city (hence the name and it's orange) But one comes along every 20 minutes, and takes you to all the main parts of town within a max. of half an hour. People like to get where they want to go quick n' easy.

My poster consists of my thoughts around a more...friendly atmosphere on an underground. I've been looking at the Tokyo subways stations, searching into their systems a bit and compared to the Western world...Japan has it sorted. Apart from the squishing.
When I was getting a bit ahead of myself I decided to search into making the Subway experience more effecient, and how to avoid crowded times should you not need to be there. I came across the 'Metro Cuff' by Tiffany Burnette online, which is a simple matte metal bracelet (and now being sold for $25) with an etched map of the NYC subway. It's a simple solution if you're an everyday metro user to quickly check that you're enroute to your destination in the right direction. This is a Universal creation, any Underground map could be used on this bracelet.

With my spider diagram up there I came up with perhaps making a personalized train-time version of this, telling you the times of your trains, with little LED lights telling you whether one is on time, if it's pretty busy, if it's late and if it's full. Maybe useful for Business people running through the station who don't have time to look at the screens overhead etc. To upgrade this further why not have a device in the bracelet to replace your ticket? A small chip you scan and top up with money, then scan at a turnstile to let you through. Which would mean you really could dash for a train and not have to look at the display boards for 5 minutes.
As I thought about it more this is useful but doesn't quite solve the problem of the masses of peak-time train users being shoved into a box-like situation.

The Tokyo Subway (or Metro) seems like a sight to behold. The imaculate stations, scattered with Recycling bins and working (at all times) escalators to be confused with the likes of an underground airport, or even space station. Japanese way of life and culture in general IS a clean, organised, 'no need to pick up litter, there isn't any' and more respective of their living environment than the Western World to me. From only photographs online, these stations look safer, friendly and more organised than NYC Subways, no graffiti, no shady characters, not a single speck of dirt.. Is just more care and taking a leaf out of another cultures book the answer? Or is Western Culture just..too laid back to care? Our subway stations would be marvelled at if for example graffiti was an amazing artfrom at every station stop instead of just a 'tag' here and there, there's no need to copy the Tokyo way of life exactly. . but maybe we just see an underground a a dark and dingey place and always's underground it doesn't need to be taken care of? Or colourful, interesting, whilst being an organised fast track to the next place. .

The one fault I will pick up on with the shiny Japanese Metro is the massive amounts of piling people in and squashing them in (with the help of the station's guards). Having said this at least one million people pass through and use the enormous Japanese subway system everyday. There's bound to be some pile ups. This does happen on other undergrounds too around the world, but not quite to this extent. However the Japanese seem to be able to handle pressed up against each other like sardines in a can in a very calm and civilised manner, kind of like in this video:
Not quite as perfect as I'd first thought.
This has become a normal way to travel, is putting on more trains the answer? It's probably not that simple, but it might be a start.

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