Should the MTA Consider These Gymnastics Ring-Like Straps in Their New Subway Design?

Posted On Wed, July 27, 2016 By

Posted On Wed, July 27, 2016 By In Design, Transportation

Every day, stoic straphangers face the crowds, dirt and other nasty stuff in the city’s subway system (when it’s running), and we don’t often consider how the various moving parts of the commuting experience are designed. The old subway cars had straps to hang onto (hence the term) in addition to poles and horizontal rails; newer generations have nixed the strap altogether, including the new high-tech designs recently unveiled by Governor Cuomo.

While it doesn’t sound as cool as a self-driving bus, Keita Suzuki at the Japanese firm Product Design Studio has designed a transit strap that could add a little more comfort to the daily commute.

Product Design Subway Strap, Subway, Design, Japanese Design,

Bumping hands with a row of strangers isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and the rings designed by Suzuki and Sayaka Hiromura, his assistant at the Tokyo-based firm, have addressed this problem. The metal rings resemble a gymnast’s ring, smaller than the vintage loops and built with some key user-friendly features. Each ring allows up to three users to hang on without crowding due to its elliptical shape and wide diameter with room for two; an elongated vertical metal fitting with rounded corners holds the strap to the ring, allowing another rider to grab it there, too.

With “safe and beautiful” as their goal, the designers developed the idea for Sagami Railway, the 15th-largest train operator in Japan. Even the muted grey color was a conscious decision. Say the designers, “Providing a muted contrast to the train carriage interior, the belts [that hold the straps together] serve to soften the visual complexity caused by the large number of visible straps, contributing to an improved aesthetic.”

If you’re still pining for the old-school straps, fear not, you can order them from the MTA and outfit your home like a vintage subway car, hopefully minus the germs.

[Via Fast Co. Design]

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Images courtesy of Product Design Studio

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