How long will it take? How do I save a bit of time?

A poster from the Tokyo subway. A table with train cars as columns and stations as rows. Each cell is marked up with background color.

I like being efficient and effective. So I have optimized where I wait in some of the stations of the Stockholm subway. I’m an optimization freak. :)

For example, if I want to go from downtown to KTH, I should enter the train in the front. When I exit the train, I will then be next to the escalators to KTH. But with the train line making a wide u-turn from downtown to KTH, it took me a long time to understand the relationship between the train cars and the exits.

Even more important then my little optimization schemes is the value that comes from travellers leaving the station efficiently – fewer persons walking around on the platforms is better.

I am of course not the first person to think about this. Tokyo is one city that helps its travellers find their optimal subway train car.

On the poster from a Yamanote line platform we can see, among other info:

  • The train is travelling to the right and consists of 11 cars
  • We are at Yoyogi station, next is Yamamoto to which the train ride is 2 minutes long (there after Shibuya after a total of 5 minutes)
  • We are positioned where the 5th car will stop
  • At Shibuya there is an elevator where car 3 stops (blue background) and escalators where car 5 stops (pink background)
  • The Yamanote line has green as its accent colour ;)

Accessibility is of big importance in Tokyo and these posters may have been conceived to help persons who need escalators/elevators. But they also help us optimization freaks :)

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