What a Transit Station Could Look Like

January 30, 2013 15 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

If you haven't used a real rail based transit system, that runs at least ten trains an hour all day, on time, then you probably don't know what it's like. It is like electricity. It's just there, and it works. At ten trains an hour, there is a train every six minutes. You don't have to look at a schedule, you just show up and, within an average of three minutes, you get on the train.



If you haven't used a real rail based transit system, that runs at least ten trains an hour all day, on time, then you probably don't know what it's like. It is like electricity. It's just there, and it works. At ten trains an hour, there is a train every six minutes. You don't have to look at a schedule, you just show up and, within an average of three minutes, you get on the train.

The stations themselves have a tendency to become a part of the culture, look and feel of the daily city life.

Since the decline and almost total destruction of the American Passenger Rail Network in the 70s and the demolition and dismemberment of the interurbans and streetcars in almost every city across the continent during the 40's and 50's the memory and easy familiarity with an interlinked network of passenger rail systems has almost completely faded.  In fact, for most Americans, the only images they have of passenger rail systems, and subways in particular, are Amtrak, the New York Metro, the San Francisco BART, and maybe some of the system in Chicago.

Not a very inspiring bunch.

However, most of the rest of the developed countries have quite wonderful passenger rail networks. They are clean, efficient, cheap, run on time, have as many as 20 or even 25 trains an hour (one every three minutes) during peak periods, and everybody from all income levels uses them. This is not a utopian fantasy, it is normal life for most people -- which they take for granted along with other modern conveniences like clean running water and working sewage systems.

Join Nate Lewis, economist and urban theorist as we have a look at some of the passenger rail elements and components of the rest of the world, starting with a photo essay of The Stations.

A real system connects people to destinations that they want to go in a city.  It connects cities to the suburbs, exurbs, and small towns that surround it, and it connects cities to other cities.

There are several elements that all real passenger rail systems have in common, and one of the most iconic elements is the design of The Stations.

Here are some shots of nicer stations from around the world:
http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/9/view/8346/subway-architecture.html


T-Centralen Station, Stockholm. photo via flickr


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