Update: Stay current on this topic at Grid Chicago. Latest post was on July 25, 2011, about the latest rail car order
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is not exactly seeking feedback from the public at this time about the Bombardier-built 5000-series train cars it’s testing now. But this is our one chance to make these trains eve better.
  • No beige. This is not the 1980s.
  • The seats shouldn’t define individual spaces if they’re going to be longitudinal. Seat cups mean “If you fit into one, then you fit into one. If you take up 110% the width of one, you now take up two.” But if they were benches like in New York, people would only fill exactly as much space as they take up.
  • The end caps should be a different color plastic, not something intended to look like the aluminum siding from afar, which then up close is clearly nothing more than a plastic approximation. Even without redesigning the endcaps, the dye color being darker and some reflective striping (to make them not vanish into the night if the car has no lighting), would make them look ultra modern.
  • Remove the modesty panels. They serve little purpose in this day and age.

If you have ideas, leave them in the comments or email the Chicago Transit Authority.

Written in conjunction with Better bicycle storage on trains.

Photo by Jeff Zoline.