In New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has installed platform barriers at the 191st Street Station (1 Train) in Manhattan, the first of their kind in the city. The barriers are aimed at improving safety for passengers.
This is the first of four stations where the MTA will experiment with platform doors. The next stations to receive platform doors will be the West 8th Street – New York Aquarium Station (F/Q Train), and Clark Street Station in Brooklyn (1 Train). The fourth New York City subway station is to be determined.
“This is a terrific move by the MTA to increase passenger safety as well as perception of safety,” said Sam Schwartz, an engineer and bonafide transportation expert. “You could be sure I will be standing behind these barriers where ever they are provided.”
The platform barriers are strategically located on the platform edge, adjacent to the yellow tactile warning strip. This is to avoid obstructing car doors from opening when riders enter and exist. The MTA notes that the barriers are funded with existing maintenance resources using in-house labor and materials.
Platform barriers are standard operating procedure in cities around the world: the new Elizabeth Line in London, Tokyo, and Singapore all have them. But many cities in the U.S., including New York, do not.
Two years ago, 234 people were killed on the New York City subway by making contact with trains. In 2021, that number was 200. Researchers say that the uptick in train deaths is partially thanks to passengers viewing mobiles devices. Others are pushed or fall onto the tracks, while 10 percent are suicide-related deaths.
In 2022, the a track safety task force was formed to tackle the problem. The MTA acknowledges that it doesn’t plan on installing platform doors at every station. MTA officials say that the system is expensive, and barriers are not feasible at about 75 percent of the 472 subway stations in New York City.