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R142/R142A Subway Car
MTA/New York City Transit
  • Year
  • 2000
  • Type
  • Exterior and Interior Design

Exterior and interior design for a new fleet of subway trains for New York City. The design of public transportation constitutes a significant part of urban experience, thus contributes to the city's image. Here, the essence of the design is to materialize a balance, which reflects the negotiation amongst various conflicting interests, such as operational efficiency, initial production cost, long-term maintenance cost, passenger comfort, ADA requirement, vandal-proofing, etc. The R142 is the first new technology train for the system's IRT division and more than 1500 cars are scheduled to be produced.

The train features a friendly, instantly recognizable face, which communicates the MTA's continuing effort of improving the system. The interior color scheme, featuring a dark shiny floor and light walls and ceiling, is conceived to create the perception of a much bigger space in the otherwise confined underground interior. Passenger seats are cantilevered from the wall without any support from the floor. This arrangement makes the floor very easy to clean. At each seat end, a security screen is provided for customer safety. Wider doors improve passenger circulation. The cars are wheelchair accessible and there are 8 flip-up seats per train which provide wheelchair parking areas. Windows in the bulkhead allow a view into adjacent cars and increase the sense of security. The cars feature a new customer information system, which is particularly important for the New York City subway which runs 24 hours a day and has a flexible express service. Electronic strip maps illuminate all stops of each individual trip, LED message displays show various additional information and a new PA system delivers automated audio instructions.

Press & Awards
Design Distinction, Equipment, ID Magazine Annual Design Review, 2001
MTA/NYCT R142 Subway Car
Silver Award, IDEA, Transportation, 2001
MTA/NYCT R142 Subway Car
Geniuses, Mad Scientists and Inventors, February 2001
All Aboard! New York’s subway cars enter the twenty-first century, November 2000
The New York Times Magazine
New Subway Cars: Notes from the Underground, Oct.1, 2000