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Carfree City Reference Design and Metro Confusion

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  • brandonmason06
    I realize this is probably not much more than an academic exercise since the carfree city reference design is just a reference design and not something likely
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 21, 2005
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      I realize this is probably not much more than an academic exercise
      since the carfree city reference design is just a reference design
      and not something likely to ever become a reality as is... but it
      seems to me the reference design poses one problem: The metro system
      would be enormously confusing and the station line would be
      particularly difficult.

      Has Joel or anyone else given thought to ways one would
      differentiate the trains? Standard ways such as "To Station A"
      or "westbound" don't seem to work when they could be said to apply
      to every train going in every direction. Also, how exactly would
      transfers work in the downtown districts where there are 8 tracks
      all going basically in different directions and all on one level (as
      dictated by the reference design)? It seems to suggest people would
      exit to the street and reenter the station through a different
      stairway.

      Just curious if anyone has given thought to how the metro system in
      the reference city would be made to be user-friendly.

      Thanks
    • Christopher Miller
      Interesting question and of course worth considering... I don t know Joel s mind on this question -- the book doesn t deal with this particular level of
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 22, 2005
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        Interesting question and of course worth considering...
        I don't know Joel's mind on this question -- the book doesn't deal
        with this particular level of detail. To get his ideas, we'll have to
        wait a day or two for when he returns from the Towards Carfree Cities
        conference in Budapest. That said, I'm not sure the kind of topology
        that he proposes for a metro system in the reference design is as
        much of a problem as it seems at first sight.

        On Jul 22, 2005, at 12:47 AM, brandonmason06 wrote:

        > I realize this is probably not much more than an academic exercise
        > since the carfree city reference design is just a reference design
        > and not something likely to ever become a reality as is... but it
        > seems to me the reference design poses one problem: The metro system
        > would be enormously confusing and the station line would be
        > particularly difficult.

        As I said, I'm not sure a loop line topology would be more confusing
        than the kind of double terminus lines we're more used to seeing.

        > Has Joel or anyone else given thought to ways one would
        > differentiate the trains? Standard ways such as "To Station A"
        > or "westbound" don't seem to work when they could be said to apply
        > to every train going in every direction.

        So the basic question seems to be how you could indicate which
        direction a train is going. For my part, I still have trouble keeping
        terminus stations straight in my head after a decade and a half using
        the Montreal Metro. I did manage somewhat better with the Washington
        DC metro after two years though, for whatever reason. In any case,
        each direction is usually indicated by the name of the terminus line
        (or the final station before the terminus itself at which a
        particular train stops in some systems, such as the Washington DC
        area's Metrorail). I don't have any idea of what systems around the
        world might have loop lines, but a quick look at this site which
        compares metro networks around the world gives me the impression
        there may be one or two such lines in existence, including Tokyo,
        Moscow, Singapore and Madrid:

        http://www.fakeisthenewreal.org/subway/index.html

        In any case, when you have trains going opposite directions around a
        closed loop, you could simply make mid-loop stations on opposite
        sides of the loop the reference stations, and specify a train's/
        track's direction as "via Station X". Taking the reference design as
        a model, imagine that the outermost station on the northwest loop is
        named Beneficent Financier Way for the street it is located on, that
        the station one or two away to the southeast is named Jane Jacobs
        (perhaps the name of a street), and that the corresponding station on
        the southwest side is named Illichville (perhaps a Plaza). Trains
        coming from the opposite end of the line would be identified as "via
        Jane Jacobs" or "via Illichville". Once a train reaches the fork
        station on the line, passengers would simply be reminded "This train
        travels the Benificent Financier loop counterclockwise via Jane
        Jacobs station. This is the last stop to transfer to trains
        travelling clockwise via Illichville." Similar announcements are
        necessary nowadays, for example, on segments of the DC Metrorail that
        are shared by different lines that converge or diverge at a given
        station. A quick glance at a system map displayed inside the train
        (or somewhere visible over the station platform) would suffice to
        clarify directions. Once a train leaves Illichville or Jane Jacobs
        station, the direction display and the announcement would then change
        to the target reference station on the opposite loop end. (It should
        be amply clear by this point that it will be going through Beneficent
        FInancier, though there is nothing to preclude announcements to
        clarify this.) A similar scheme shold in principle work for a
        circular line.

        Another way of indicating directions would be an animated display of
        the metro system, or at least the relevant line, at some highly
        visible place above the platform (and inside the trains for that
        matter), indicating the current locations of the next train or two,
        perhaps with an associated "via X" legend and, for the next train, a
        ghost line highlighting the particular direction it will be taking on
        the loop.

        Of course, to take into account the needs of deaf or blind
        passengers, the best course would be to aim for redundancy in message
        formats (visual and audible).

        > Also, how exactly would
        > transfers work in the downtown districts where there are 8 tracks
        > all going basically in different directions and all on one level (as
        > dictated by the reference design)? It seems to suggest people would
        > exit to the street and reenter the station through a different
        > stairway.

        I think you're talking about the transfer stations in each of the
        three downtown districts (illustrated on pages 172-173 in the book,)
        right? The transfer station arrangement brings two lines into close
        proximity, each line having two tracks going toward one loop and two
        going toward the other one for a total of four, to which you add the
        four tracks on the connecting line (>>> and <<< indicate opposite
        directions; "on" and "off" indicate on- and off-boarding platforms,
        as Joel proposes in order to speed up passenger turnover times):

        Turquoise line:
        # off # off #
        off #
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> (via Jane Jacobs)
        # on # on # on #
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> (via Illichville)
        # off # off #
        off #
        <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< (via Christopher Alexander)
        # on # on # on #
        <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< (via Jaime Lerner)
        # off # off #
        off #
        Fuchsia line:
        # off # off #
        off #
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> (via Zermatt)
        # on # on # on #
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> (via Lido)
        # off # off #
        off #
        <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< (via Sherbrooke)
        # on # on # on #
        <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< (via West Hyattsville)
        # off # off #
        off #

        Assuming that boarding platforms are in between tracks going in the
        same general direction (up until they diverge when they reach their
        loop), detraining platforms would be on the two outside platforms. On
        the assumption that platforms would be typically two to three times a
        train's width, and assuming stations would be designed with enough
        entry and exit points per platform to let passengers transfer quickly
        to another direction or line (the # symbols in the diagram above),
        perhaps via an open mezzanine above the tracks and/or below (like in
        well-designed multi-track intercity train stations), I don't think
        transfer times and walking distances would need to be any greater
        than in the typical multilevel cross-line transfer stations I am
        familiar with in Montreal or DC. (Of course, entry and exit points
        would need to carry clear signage to inform passengers about where to
        go to transfer to their intended train.)

        > Just curious if anyone has given thought to how the metro system in
        > the reference city would be made to be user-friendly.

        Of course, the reference design avoids crossing lines at transfer
        stations but I can imagine various crossed lines arrangements: one
        would be a traditional multilevel arrangement with connecting lines
        crossing each other at a narrow central focus (like a + sign);
        another would spread opposite directions on the same line away from
        each other, most likely with each crossing line on a separate level,
        with a large central mezzanine (like the interior of a # sign) at an
        intermediate level allowing for fairly easy transfer between lines
        and directions. I can't really describe this all any more clearly
        without pretty detailed diagrams showing traffic flow, but I hope I
        have managed to get the main idea across.

        Christopher Miller
        Montreal QC Canada
      • Christopher Miller
        I think my diagram of a transfer station arrangement may show up wrong on many people s displays since the right wedge I was using as a direction symbol may be
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 22, 2005
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          I think my diagram of a transfer station arrangement may show up
          wrong on many people's displays since the right wedge I was using as
          a direction symbol may be interpreted in some mail programs as a
          quote symbol and get replaced by some other symbol.

          I'm hoping this reworked version will show up better:

          Turquoise line:
          # off # off # off #
          >->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->-> (via Jane Jacobs)
          # on # on # on #
          >->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->-> (via Illichville)
          # off # off # off #
          <-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-< (via Christopher Alexander)
          # on # on # on #
          <-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-< (via Jaime Lerner)
          # off # off # off #
          Fuchsia line:
          # off # off # off #
          >->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->-> (via Zermatt)
          # on # on # on #
          >->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->-> (via Lido)
          # off # off # off #
          <-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-< (via Sherbrooke)
          # on # on # on #
          <-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-<-< (via West Hyattsville)
          # off # off # off #


          Christopher Miller
          Montreal QC Canada
        • tokyotuds
          Hi Brandon, I recall that the reference design does address one of these issues. The other issue is solved by example here in Tokyo. ...
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 22, 2005
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            Hi Brandon,

            I recall that the reference design does address one of these issues.
            The other issue is
            solved by example here in Tokyo.

            --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "brandonmason06"
            <brandon.mason@g...>
            wrote:

            > Has Joel or anyone else given thought to ways one would
            > differentiate the trains? Standard ways such as "To Station A"
            > or "westbound" don't seem to work when they could be said to apply
            > to every train going in every direction.

            IN TOKYO, WE HAVE a loop line train (Yamanote) and a loop line subway
            (Oedo). Each
            platform has a sign mentioning the 2 or 3 major stations you'll hit
            if you board that train.
            Boarding the oppposite direction shows a different 2 or 3 major
            stations on the signage.
            Of course, if you are going to the oposite side of the loop, either
            train will take about the
            same time.

            Shinjuku Station Example
            Platform 1: bound for Iidabashi, Monzen-nakacho
            Platform 2: bound for Roppongi, Daimon

            Entertaining description of hte Oedo Line here:
            http://www.bigempire.com/sake/oedo.html

            Also on every platform in 400+ subway stations in Tokyo, there is a
            line map showing
            every station in that direction and length of time to get there.

            Also, how exactly would
            > transfers work in the downtown districts where there are 8 tracks
            > all going basically in different directions and all on one level
            (as
            > dictated by the reference design)? It seems to suggest people
            would
            > exit to the street and reenter the station through a different
            > stairway.

            I RECALL THE REFERENCE DESIGN says that the 3 loop lines dont
            actually cross over each
            other. They come up beside each other, so in half the cases, the
            passenger just walks
            across the platform as the train across the platform is actually a
            different loop line.

            http://www.carfree.com/topology.html

            This is in effect once again in Tokyo at Akasaka-Mitsuke Station
            (Marunouchi and Ginza
            Lines) and Omotesando (Ginza and Hanzomon Lines). These are my
            favourite transfers
            inthe city as they are a breeze.

            If the passenger needs the oppposite direction on the intersecting
            line, they will need to
            go up to a mezzanine, across, and down (or an underpass), but I doubt
            we'd want
            everyone to exit to the surface for transfers, due to weather, and
            the use of valuable
            surface space for transering alone.

            The Japanese are amazing at engineering themselve around problems.
            But this problem
            as well is simply solved when you actually do a few drawings or build
            a simple model.

            A very practial quesion, Brandon, but solvable, I think.

            Cheers,
            Tuds
          • Karen Sandness
            ... As a relatively frequent visitor to Tokyo, I can confirm that the loop line causes no confusion at all. For example, it you re at Shinjuku, one side of the
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 23, 2005
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              On Jul 23, 2005, at 1:32 PM, carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com wrote:

              > IN TOKYO, WE HAVE a loop line train (Yamanote) and a loop line subway
              > (Oedo). Each
              > platform has a sign mentioning the 2 or 3 major stations you'll hit
              > if you board that train.
              > Boarding the oppposite direction shows a different 2 or 3 major
              > stations on the signage.
              > Of course, if you are going to the oposite side of the loop, either
              > train will take about the
              > same time.
              >
              As a relatively frequent visitor to Tokyo, I can confirm that the loop
              line causes no confusion at all. For example, it you're at Shinjuku,
              one side of the surface train platform has a sign reading, "To Shibuya
              and Tokyo" (two major stations in the counterclockwise direction),
              while the other side has a sign reading, "To Ikebukuro and Ueno" (two
              major stations in the clockwise direction). When you board, there are
              announcements over the train's intercom saying, for example, "This is
              the counterclockwise train. Next stop, Yoyogi."

              If you happen to board in the wrong direction, there's no harm done.
              You have a choice of getting off at the next station and backtracking
              or, if you have time, just riding all the way around. The fare is based
              on the distance between the two stations, so if you choose for
              eccentric reasons of your own to go all the way around the loop to
              travel between Shibuya and Yoyogi, you would still pay the lowest fare.

              However, tourists who want a quick overview of the central city are
              sometimes advised to ride the loop line all the way around during
              off-peak hours.

              In transit,
              Karen Sandness
            • J.H. Crawford
              ... As others have said, this probably isn t really a problem. ... Yes, that s correct. You climb a single flight of stairs (say 4 or 5 meters) to the surface,
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 31, 2005
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                >Has Joel or anyone else given thought to ways one would
                >differentiate the trains? Standard ways such as "To Station A"
                >or "westbound" don't seem to work when they could be said to apply
                >to every train going in every direction.

                As others have said, this probably isn't really a problem.

                >Also, how exactly would
                >transfers work in the downtown districts where there are 8 tracks
                >all going basically in different directions and all on one level (as
                >dictated by the reference design)? It seems to suggest people would
                >exit to the street and reenter the station through a different
                >stairway.

                Yes, that's correct. You climb a single flight of stairs
                (say 4 or 5 meters) to the surface, walk across the central
                square to the entrance to your other train, and descend again.
                This minimizes stair climbing and excavation for the downtown
                stations. It also has the effect of making the central square
                a very lively place. The capacity of the transfer station is
                essentially unlimited, unlike some transfers in, say, Washington,
                where you have, IIRC, only a single stairway which often
                becomes quite congested.

                This is, I think, not only the cheapest way to do this, but
                also the easiest for the passenger.

                Regards,


                ------ ### -----
                J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
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