« GIS conference seeks presenters | Main | can green thinking value straight lines? »

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83454714d69e201901b606c03970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference subway car configurations: a matter of taste?:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Zoltán

That longitudinal (sideways) seating takes up less space than 2+2 transverse seating is what I'd always assumed. But I was just looking at the mixed seating on the Bakerloo Line in London and commuter trains in Leeds, and in both cases the two kinds of seating took about as much of the carriage's width when the passengers' legs are taken into account.

What I also observed is that longitudinal seating does greatly reduce the length of time passengers take to enter and leave their seats, thereby improving flow of passengers at stations.

I wonder if 2+1 transverse seating, as often used on buses in Europe, might be the most capacity-efficient form of seating, and maintain acceptable station dwell times. (1+1 transverse seating, as on many Italian buses, is likely to most effectively maximise capacity and minimise dwell times, but it also gives the passenger experience a very cattle truck feel and is likely unacceptable to the US palette).

Matthew

Oddly enough, MBTA Green line trolleys have it the other way. The older Kinki Sharyo with front and back facing seats have higher capacity than the newer Breda with sideways seating. But that may have more to do with the low floor design of the newer cars.

Michael Benami Doyle

I moved to Chicago from New York City 10 years ago. This is the exact same thing that played out there in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In both cities, riders told the transit agency on surveys and in focus groups that they preferred to retain forward/backward seats (for those lines that originally had such seating.) In both cities, the marketing research results were clear that the preference was for forward/backward seats.

And...in both cities, the transit agency ignored its own findings and went with all-sideways seating anyway. With the result that, yes, yet again in both cities, the riding public and transit reporters took the transit agency to task for doing so.

The story here is not that riders may not know what is good for them. They story here is that riders--right now in Chicago and previously in New York--made an informed decision and told the transit agency what they wanted, and then were completely ignored.

BBnet3000

A bigger question is, if capacity is an issue (it isnt always, but in New York it certainly is), why are riders being given the choice at all? We shouldnt be managing the capacity of the transit system by a committee of millions.

b

The sideways seating is much easier for passengers with suitcases or large bags than the Chicago style forward facing seats. A while back I used the MBTA redline & blue line to get to the airport where I flew to Chicago and used their subway to get to my hotel. It was much easier to maneuver my suitcase in and out of the seats and around standing passengers in Boston that it was in Chicago. My suitcase was just a normal standard medium size suitcase but felt difficult to get it into a seat where it wasn't blocking the narrow isle in the Chicago subway car.

Lior

And here is the Atlantic Cities' article from yesterday. Another approach: don't ask the people, just watch them.

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/04/smart-practical-tips-building-more-comfortable-subway-car/5314/

Miles Bader

I strongly prefer longitudinal (sideways) seating.

Chicago subway cars with their F/B seating feel cramped and constraining compared to systems with longitudinal seating, and getting on/off is miserable and slow, especially when there's any amount of crowding.

Systems with longitudinal seating, by contrast, feel much more free and open, and egress is vastly easier and quicker.

Dancou-Maryuu

I'm surprised there's so little discussion about the hybrid option. It could incorporate the best of both worlds (longitudinal for short-distance passengers, transverse for long-distance).

david vartanoff

Note that Chicago L cars are shorter by a couple feet than either PATH or IRT (NYC numbered lines), slightly narrower and have 2 instead of 3 doors.

LeighH

For me, it's not a matter of taste. I get severely carsick if I have to sit facing backwards.

Ben Smith

I find the quality of the seats makes far more impact than the direction it faces. Toronto's subway trains use light padding on a hard wood frame, and they are absolutely horrid. Montreal uses non-padded plastic seats, and they are far more comfortable.

I've seen pictures of Tube trains with side seating, but the seats are all thick padded cushions. Damn they look comfortable!

Jordan Trew

Jarrett: Firstly thank you for your ever-passionate and informed posts - I have been reading for 6 months or so and find it fascinating.

On the question of seating: I've wondered for some time about the longitudinal option, I don't believe I've seen it in Melbourne. It struck me as useful not just for increased capacity but for faster boarding and alighting times. Extending the idea further, I wondered about the viability of running the seats not along the walls but along the centre line of the carriage, facing outwards, with intermittent gaps for passengers to pass from one side of the carriage to the other. The benefit in this being that it would make possible a dramatic widening of the doorways, and hence potentially a further improvement in boarding and alighting times. Any thoughts anyone?

Tsuyoshi

If they're doing an honest survey, they should pair the lower-capacity seating with the fare or tax increase required to provide more peak service to make up for the lower capacity.

asdf

How about different seating configurations in different cars on the same train? You want forward-facing seats, go to a car near the front. You want maximum chance of getting on the train at all, go to a car near the rear.

Even better, if you have a transit system where the trains are longer during the peak to match much higher demand during the peak, the sideways-seating cars can be the ones that disappear during the off-peak. This way, during the times when capacity isn't an issue, everyone can still get forward facing seats.

Dexter Wong

Or you could go for a configuration like BART's, which is transverse seating except near the doors, where it is longitudinal. Also, half of the seats face one direction and half face the other direction. But, then again, BART never considered itself a subway, but an electrified commuter railroad.

Lucre

I left this comment on greatergreaterwashington.org some time ago on a discussion of this issue with regard to the DC metro:

The number of additional stationary passengers that can fit in a longitudinal arrangement is nothing compared to how much less effort and shuffle it takes a longitudinally seated passenger to get in and out of her seat. You lose four seats per married pair [of DC metrorail cars] by seating longitudinally, but consider how many seats are unoccupied in crowded transverse seated metro trains now because passengers know how difficult it would be to egress from a transverse seat (particularly if you find yourself in the window seat); I'll bet a nickel it's at least four.
For each window seated passenger who needs to exit, at least three times as much space must be cleared for her egress as would be necessary in a longitudinal arrangement (the seat she vacates, her neighbor's seat, the space her neighbor needs to occupy during her egress). How much more efficiently would trains run if they could load passengers without the need for all this?

Jack Horner

Transverse seats like those pictured run at about 3 per square metre, which is also a good upper limit for comfortable standing (a crush load would be more than 4 per square metre).

So a comfortable full (not crush) load is about 3 per square metre altogether, regardless of the proportion of sitting to standing.

Longitudinal (or transverse three abreast if you wish) comes into its own only when you need to plan for standing at more than 3 per square metre.

Longitudinal is not very good for older or less able folk who may want to hold something as they get up. Transverse three abreast gives roughly the same proportion of sitting to standing space.

The transverse seats shown are front to back. England and Australia traditionally use front to front. I've always been curious about what led to that choice, as to me front to back is so obviously superior (more privacy, more places for seatback corner handholds).

Andrew in Ezo

@asdf
Even better would be to fit seating that can rotate to be either longitudinal or transverse. It also solves the problem of backward facing seats, as the seats can always face forward.
On the Kintetsu Line in Japan (5800 LC car):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7_6ZhOyGKU

*Of course seating this nice would likely be vandalized within a week if used in an American transit system.

Robert Wightman

In the magazine article they show some arrangements with vertical poles in the middle of the floor near the doors. Toronto tried these and found that they created road blocks because people hanging on to them would not move out of the way.

Toronto has much wider cars, 10', and doors with longitudinal seats beside the doors and back to back transverse seats half way between the doors. No one is facing the back of a seat so it is not difficult to get out of the transverse seat and each door has its own area around it.

Pete Brown

@ Ben Smith. Older tube train (built 1960/70s, refurbished 1980s/90s) seats are indeed deeply padded and very comfortable. When trains gather speed you get a nice bouncy sensation as they are sprung. More recent trains however have hard seats and are not so comfortable.

Bakerloo Line 1972 Mk 2 Stock Train:
http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6186/6082361147_0764415318_o.jpg

Central Line 1992 Stock Train:
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3433/5751418053_6c450f5587_z.jpg

London Underground's trains built since the early 90s have had all longitudinal seating to maximise standing capacity.

Pete Brown

Video footage at link shows London Underground's latest trains, the 'S' Stock trains being introduced onto the sub-surface lines (Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City, Circle, and District). The video features the first of the Hammersmith & City Line fleet with 100% longitudinal seating. Note the walk through cars, and also a shot of one of the outgoing 'C' Stock trains to contrast with.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc2eLR8Xnb4

The Metropolitan Line has received all its 'S' Stock trains and these have a mixture of longitudinal and transverse seating, despite this they have significantly less seating than the outgoing 'A' Stock trains dating from 1960-62 which had 100% transverse seating on a 3 + 2 layout, high backed with overhead luggage racks. The Metropolitan Line is more of a suburban line than an inner city metro, with a mixture of local, semi-fast, and fast trains.

'A' Stock car interior:
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5129/5261370929_e58148a1fb_z.jpg

Patrick S

@Jack Horner -
I agree about the front-front seats on Australian trains being a strange choice.

In fact as a significantly-taller-than average person, my pet hate about these kinds of systems is there isn't enough room for my legs.

Maybe the decision was some effort to make the trains "family-oriented" given they served a lot of suburban suburbs?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

the firm

Jarrett is now in ...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...