Standing on both sides of the escalator, the revolution is coming?

Monday, 10 April, 2017

The convention of standing on one side of an escalator, and walking, or running, as the case may be, up the other, may be coming to an end. Experts in the movements of people going up escalators found there was less congestion overall, if people stood on both sides.

Consultants at Capgemini Consulting in London explored the efficiency question by timing themselves over several days walking and standing on an escalator at the Green Park station and then using that data in computer models. They found that walking up the escalator took 26 seconds compared with standing, which took 40 seconds. However, “the time in system” – or how long it took to stand in line to reach an escalator then ride it – dropped sharply when everyone stood, according to a blog post by the researchers.

Anyone travelling during the commuter peaks will be familiar with this, a scrum of people, who wish to stand on one side, waiting for everyone to file onto the escalator, while the other side is usually quite empty, save for those running late, making a dash for it.

I saw the practice of having commuters stand on both sides of the escalator being trialled at Holborn, a tube station in London, in the documentary series The Tube: Going Underground. Needless to say, breaking the habits of a lifetime was not easy.

Hapless staff at Holborn even resorted to asking people to be “part of the revolution” in an attempt to have them change their behaviour. Conducting the trial at one station would have been confusing though, as walkers forced to stand would revert to walking at another station.

While possible, effecting such a change across an entire network would be an enormous undertaking. Those who like walking, or running, up one side of the escalator, myself included, whether I’m in in a hurry or not, won’t have to worry for now.

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Last Train, a short documentary by Matt Knarr, and Will Snyder

Wednesday, 22 February, 2017

Last Train, in this case the last service of the day on a suburban line in the Canadian city of Toronto, is a short documentary directed by Matt Knarr, and filmed by Will Snyder.

Catching the last train of the day is a world removed from travelling during the day, or the morning and evening commuter peaks. The silence of the almost deserted platforms is eerie. The fluorescent lights of the trains and stations seem harsher, to the point they’re bleaching.

But there can also be a certain camaraderie amongst last train of the night travellers, an experience that’s elegantly captured here.

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Mini Metros, minimal maps of mass transit systems by Peter Dovak

Thursday, 19 January, 2017

Design by Peter Dovak

Washington, D.C. based graphic designer Peter Dovak seems to spend a bit of time on trains, so it makes sense he’d turn his hand to designing maps for mass transit systems. And Mini Metros is the elegant, minimally styled, result.

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Who is the best bus driver in the world?

Wednesday, 8 July, 2015

The International Bus Roadeo, which is held in Texas, gives bus drivers across North America the chance to test their mettle in an annual bus driving competition. Contestants have seven minutes to complete an obstacle course, to be in with a chance to take out the top prize…

They need to get close to curbs, tennis balls, and cones, but can’t touch them. They need to go fast, but not over the speed limit. They can’t brake where they shouldn’t, or too hard – there are judges and special tracking equipment on board to make sure the ride is nice and smooth. They need to complete the course as designed (and every course is different). They’re docked points for infractions – for bumping, scraping or knocking over a cone, for passing on the wrong side, for backing up, or for stopping, even just for a moment.

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Imagine if you could leap to work, rather than catch a bus

Wednesday, 8 April, 2015

Spacious, clean, wifi enabled buses, with, in addition to the driver, an attendant serving refreshments and answering any questions commuters may have, just might lure more people onto public transport. Too bad then the Leap buses only service a small area of San Francisco at the moment.

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Riding the pizza line in the pizza belt

Tuesday, 17 February, 2015

If New York City is the centre of the Pizza Belt, in that there is a greater than fifty percent chance of obtaining a good slice of pizza from a randomly chosen pizzeria, it should come as no surprise to hear that researchers recently discovered the city’s subway system contains the microscopic remnants of all manner of pizza ingredients:

The team also found that, on a microscopic level, the subway is littered with leftovers – evidence of what New Yorkers like to eat. Cucumber particles were the most commonly found food item, along with traces of kimchi, sauerkraut, and chickpeas. Bacteria associated with mozzarella cheese coated 151 stations. And other traces of pizza ingredients such as sausages and Italian cheese were everywhere.

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London’s commuters photographed by Nick Turpin

Wednesday, 19 November, 2014

Do they know they’re being watched? Through a Glass Darkly is a collection of, at times, almost other-worldly images of English bus commuters, by London photographer Nick Turpin.

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A jet engine powered train… is that a fast train or what?

Tuesday, 7 October, 2014

Soviet Turbojet Train

A Soviet era turbo train, powered by aircraft-like engines, was designed to reach speeds of 360 kilometres per hour (about 220 miles per hour). It managed to reach 250 kilometres per hour during tests, but was never used commercially on account of its high fuel consumption.

That’s too bad really… travelling by a train with an aircraft engine would have almost felt like flying, and without the hassle of having to board a flight.

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Taking a long, hard, and very slow, look at the daily commute

Friday, 24 January, 2014

While filmed at Tokyo’s Shinjiku station, by Berlin-based Hungarian photographer Adam Magyar, at a glacial frame rate, the scene captured here would differ little from any other train station in the world, during the peak hour commute.

Watch closely though, you will see some movement among the seemingly stationery people.

Via The Fox Is Black.

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The London Underground, as photographed by Bob Mazzer

Wednesday, 22 January, 2014

London Underground, photo by Bob Mazzer

As if anyone could get enough of the London Underground… a collection of photos, taken by London photographer Bob Mazzer, during the 1970s and 1980s.

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