As a final project for Jason Santa Maria’s Communicating Design class, we were to: “Identify a problem with navigating the NY Transit system. This could be a problem with existing means (wayfinding, maps, the website, etc), a point in the process that could be re-imagined, or the introduction of a new tool. It could be for use in a specific place, or all places, for a specific demographic or community, or all people.” We were also required to create promotional material used to get the word out about our new solution for the NY Transit system.
The problem that I addressed were the crowded train cars during rush hour. It’s one of those situations where you are practically forced into a car full of people since you have less than a minute to decide whether or not to run up and down the platform looking for an emptier car.
10 second pitch
What I propose is PlatInform, an intelligent platform that informs you where the most empty train cars are prior to the train pulling up into the station.
During prototyping, there were a few train riders that seemed skeptical about the signs on the platform, but a majority of them actually did follow the signs. Perhaps it was the novelty of a bright green sign on the ground that attracted them, but in hindsight, the second lady with the cane (at 0:30 in the video above) struck a chord with me.
When I initially set out on this project, my main target audience were subway riders in general. I didn’t really think about how PlatInform would affect the subgroups within that general pool of commuters, such as the elderly and the handicapped. Prototyping this project did two things for me 1) proved that PlatInform, for the most part, worked and 2) that there is a certain level of usefulness that this system provides based on whoever is using it.
Moving on, how does all of this look once implemented in the NYC subway stations? The following are a few mockups showing PlatInform in action.
A set of posters were created to inform commuters about the new platform system. Each poster featured a different position subway riders were forced into everyday during their rush hour commute. Special thanks to Colleen Miller for cheering me on as I pasted the posters all over one subway car.