Add More Sideways Seats

Nudging Up Customer Service: Long-Term Solution

Problem, Classification, and Idea

One of the greatest challenges to rolling stock and road vehicles is creating a good design with regard to seat layout. According to studies, there is a system which is the most efficient: having forward/backwards facing seats at the ends of cars with sideways facing seats in the middle (between staggered doorsets). Utilizing this information to its fullest extent can not occur until the procurement of new MFL or BSL vehicles (which is not set to occur for quite some time). Until then, there are some design elements that should be considered for the rehab of the M4 cars. As it stands, a portion of the MFL vehicles are set to feature removed seats and windscreens. While this would create bigger areas for customers to wait, adding sideways facing seats could be beneficial.


Sideways-facing seats benefit vehicles for a number of reasons. First, customers in these seats tend to be likely to utilize all of the space (as no one must worry about being “trapped” in a window seat). In addition, these seats provide more standing room for customers in the car, allowing the vehicles to accommodate a much greater number of people. This measure, while less drastic than things similar to the “Big Red” trains on the MBTA, would still work well due to the operation of the MFL being similar to many NYC subway lines (with regard to “through-service”).


Next Steps

  • Meet with M4 overhaul project directors to express design concerns and discuss implementation into future overhauls.
  • Evaluate the seating usage habits on both the MFL and BSL trains via the on-vehicle security cameras.
  • Meet with vehicle procurement heads to discuss implementing this information into future bus and railcar bid requirements.