LA Metro

LA Metro: Promoting Mass Transit from EMBARQ Network on Vimeo.

Tim an urban planner, now in London, has this great gift of sending me urban inspirations when I need it most.   It is almost uncanny his timing.

He send me the above video recently about the marketing and communication design of LA Metro.  Which is impeccable timing as public transit is my ongoing fascination, and linked to my RBH project.  I like “public space” and it isn’t just parks and streets as most people might think, I would consider public transport as a huge public space.    (which perhaps does not get as much sexy design thinking as other public space gets).

I  think if you applied to transit all those typical urban design, placemaking, community making principles, usually reserved for outdoor spaces – how different transit could be or would be?   For example – if good park design includes activation, seating and comfort of users, how would you apply it to transit?  I think people are “switched on” to better seating, comfort in climate and  waiting areas.  But I’d say activation is a missing opportunity that could improve the experience of transit users.  Q Music had live bands on trains for music week, imagine if that was regular.  I’d catch a train for that.

What are activities you could do on your 30min commute?  In my 2007 Re:Vision entry I was exploring options like public services, libraries, paying bills etc.  Clearly I’m still harping on about the same things, 3 years later.

My streeteditors co-blogger and inspiring writer/designer in his own right, Josh Capelin, also was talking about this – an extract from an email –

“Was riding through the city one night last week and noticed for the nth time how a bunch of people – sometimes as many as 50 long, can all stand in muted silence and wait for a bus to pick them up and carry them – in muted silence – to their destination. And I thought what if you took social media off the screen and into these lines and workshopped – either in the queues or on buses a list of needs/dreams that people had, and then amongst those gathered tried to find the one/two/three… degrees of separation that would help that person. One: it would sure liven up the scene. And Two: You’re helping people meet/share/talk and discuss, of which the whole concept is based around the adage “you never know who’s sitting next to you”.

Perhaps then the idea of public transport slowly becomes just that: Public”


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