When in London…

I love London’s public transport. I love taking the train, the double decker buses, the underground, the overground, you name it.

But, during peak times, even James Bond has trouble navigating, in this case, the underground. And while we may not be trying to save the world, this is a situation we experience almost every day in this city.  Our goal is to get to our destination in one piece and as peacefully as we can possibly can. Sometimes this is an almost impossible feat.

Just the other day I was on the train, while sitting down, I had a very relaxing trip until it was my stop to get out. I looked at the amount of people that I had to pass and I thought I was not going to be able to make it in time. Fortunately, a good amount of people also got out and I was able to go through. But sometimes this gets tricky.

We were given the task to identify an everyday problem and by observation try to come up with a solution. I told this story to my group and then other members told their own stories. This was something we could all relate to and that affected a good amount of the English population.

We started thinking of ways to make, specifically, the underground, more efficiently. We started prototyping a system as shown below.

While this is not a rule, we thought it would be interesting to have some kind of guidance in relation to how many stops you had to go before you got out. This idea had two parts:

  1. We would have three colour coded sections in the underground. If you were getting of in 1 to 3 stops, you would be red, and your section would be near the door. If you were getting in 4 to 6 stops, you would be yellow and your section would be near the doors. If you had to get off in 7 or more stations you would in the the red zone, the middle. There would also be lines on the floor before getting into the subway to make it easier.

  2. The other part was to put some lights outside the cars. Using the same technology that elevators use, it would calculate when the cars are almost full or full and it would be a red light in this case. If the car is not full yet it would be a blue light. This light would be seen from outside so when the train is coming you are able to spot the emptier cars to get in.

When presenting in class we did a representation by acting a situation where one of us was trying to get off a full train. This was something everyone could relate to.

Some concerns were presented by other classmates. Like would people really follow this? Or would they want to have this as a rule. We explained that this would just be a guide and that eventually people would just follow it as a rule but without imposing that it should only be this way. Just the way we know to stand on the right of the stairs if we are not moving. It will eventually become a habit.

This was a very fun exercise to do. By not only bouncing ideas from each other and not rejecting any (brainstorming), empathising (in this case very easy), and acting it out (bodystorming), we were able to create a solution that might solve an every day problem.  It was very exciting to be able to understand the view of every member of the team and their problems as unique and work as a team to create something together. Acting it out definitely made it more fun.

I would definitely try to incorporate this in my every day commute. Happy travels!


Scene of the film Skyfall (2012) directed by Sam Mendes.

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