If I Could Redeisgn the People’s Square Metro Station

Thursday, November 12, 2009 1:44
Posted in category China Logistics

Shanghai Metro Rushhour Animation

Over the years, I have learned few lessons that I would say are more important than avoiding the People’s Square Metro interchange during rush hour.

It is perhaps one of the most congested metro stops I have ever had to pass through during rush hour, and unlike in other countries where a basic respect of personal space exists… in Shanghai.. it can at times be a test of patience for riders – particularly those on Line 1 where buckets of ice are needed to cool the trains off during summers.

Comfort aside though, a few recent exchanges also left me with a real sense that the numbers are reaching an unsafe level, and it is only a matter of time before someone is forced onto the tracks because there is simply no room left to stand when both trains pull in and unload before the pressure from waiting crowds can be alleviated. Crowds that at times can already be backed up the stairs trying to get down.

So, with a few hours of spare time I have put together the above as a representation of what I feel should become the blueprint for all rail hubs going forward. It is, in the simplest description simply adding a second platform that will allow passengers coming into the station to clear the cars so that those waiting can then get on, and in a manner that not only prevents the scrum like atmosphere that current is the rush hour “experience’, but it does so in a way that significantly reduces the congestion that occurs on the platform.

The trains would not require any additional equipment as the doors already exist, and while it would perhaps be a bit more inconvenient for passengers who missed a stop and needed to get back onto the opposite train, this new system would significantly reduce the number of people who were unable to get off the train because of the crowds (I have seen this nearly weekly).

Additionally, if you care to notice the handicap signs, this new configuration would allow those who need assistance to get onto the train before the main crowd does.  this would not only increasing the chances that they get a seat without having to kick someone out, but also go a long way to preventing other accidents that may arise from someone being knocked into or knocked over.

Next week, I have another suggestion that I think would also greatly improve the experience of People’s Square.  It is one where a quick gain could be made through  a little bit of staff training and a slight adjustment of some software.

Until then.  Enjoy the Shanghai metro… off peak

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

12 Responses to “If I Could Redeisgn the People’s Square Metro Station”

  1. Joseph says:

    November 12th, 2009 at 6:38 am

    I hope they use your idea !

  2. Matt Davis says:

    November 12th, 2009 at 8:37 am


    Oh the things that public works planners could learn from Disney all the way back to the original Tomorrowland. Almost all amusement park rides that I’ve ever been on do this, but the first one I can remember was Space Mountain. At the same time, almost every METRO system I’ve been on has exactly the same problem you’re describing. Almost, since there are at least a few stops in Hong Kong that work the way you are describing and those that I have been to have been a joy.

    Just a shame when planners copy the wrong, flawed designs. Granted the New York Subway’s been running for over 100 years, but I’m thinking that the world has changed a bit since it first came into existence.

    I really hope that this idea gets picked up, not just for this station, but for just about every major station in every metro around the world!

  3. Rich says:

    November 12th, 2009 at 9:14 am


    If they do, I will create All Roads Lead to China Metro cards in celebration!

    … but I am pretty sure that this is an idea that they considered at one point, but chose not to follow for a reason that is probably linked to not foreseeing the problem from the rider’s point of view.


  4. Rich says:

    November 12th, 2009 at 9:17 am


    yeah – I am pretty sure that this is an idea that will not be seen in People’s Square, but if there would be a way to get it put into service in other cites (there are 30+ with new systems being built) .. that would be great.

    My next post is an idea that is far easier to implement…and perhaps would have more legs!


  5. Jonathan says:

    November 12th, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    I feel like you have been peering into my brain. Then again, anyone who has to brave People’s Square at rush hour probably spends loads of time contemplating what he/she would do to solve the problem.

    You answer is beautiful, though not exactly easily enacted (as you just wrote). My ideas always revolve around more stairways and well-thought channels of people that avoid head-on collisions of marauding businessmen. There needs to be better training of the people in the stations, too. So often all they do is whistle when a train door opens.

  6. kiers says:

    November 13th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    yes! but your animation shows the two (“current” and “new”) scenarios trains arriving together and leaving at the same time. the “current” train would take longer.

    u could also use alternate doors on the same platform as entry only or exit only with NO CHANGE IN PLATFORM infrastructure.

  7. Rich says:

    November 14th, 2009 at 3:15 am

    @kiers – I agree that it would take longer. I was just trying to keep it simple for illustration purposes.

    Where I would say the alternative door idea would be equally difficult is that it would require (1) either a significant change in rider behavior or (2) new trains.

    Either way.. I am thinking the back doors are operationally easier

  8. Micah Sittig says:

    November 14th, 2009 at 6:47 am

    The People’s Square Line 8 platform is like this already. Photo: http://www.shmetro.com/node49/200901/images/img101091_0.jpg

  9. Matt Mayer says:

    November 14th, 2009 at 7:59 am

    I believe at People’s Square on Line 8 trains they open both sets of doors. Which is a start…

  10. Rich says:

    November 14th, 2009 at 8:00 am


    Thanks for sending this over. I have honestly never been on line 8, and find it interesting that they have done this for that line… and not for the most heavily trafficked when they had the chance.

  11. Rich says:

    November 14th, 2009 at 8:04 am

    @Matt – yes. It is a start, and with other lines opening up soon.. I guess we will see if this becomes a trend.


  12. Enno says:

    November 15th, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Munich S-Bahn (one of two Metro systems in the city) uses this system for the most busy stops (like main train station etc).

    It works great and has since the 70’s I guess. But it still needs some discipline, when the train operator (or today rather the recorded message) says: “exit only to the left”.

    Works fine with us boring Germans …but I wonder …