Dezeen Magazine

Yellow fences installed by the MTA in New York subway

"Experimental" safety barriers trialled on New York subway platform

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has installed yellow safety barriers in a subway station to mitigate "intrusions" onto the train tracks.

The bright yellow barriers are part of a safety pilot program monitored by New York City Transit (NYCT), which the organisation will study and scale up if successful.

Yellow barriers lining a subway station in New York
The MTA has installed safety barriers in an uptown station

"It's still in an experimental phase," said MTA CEO Janno Lieber in a statement. "We will be watching carefully to determine if the barriers are effective at deterring track intrusions without interfering with passenger circulation. If they pass the test, we will be ready to deploy widely."

Dispersed periodically along the length of a station, the metal barriers sit directly adjacent to support columns and just before the yellow tactile warning strip that lines a platform edge.

safety barriers in NYC
The barriers are part of a safety pilot program that seeks to mitigate intrusions onto tracks

They leave half of the gaps between columns open and block the remaining space to decrease the possibility commuters would fall, be pushed, or enter into the tracks below.

The first batch of barriers was installed in a Uptown Manhattan station at 191 Street, with plans to install the remaining test fleet at a Coney Island station, a station in Downtown Brooklyn, and a fourth location that has yet to be determined.

The program follows a 2022 MTA report that studied reasons behind track intrusions and possible solutions to prevent them, which cites pushing, suicide, intoxication, mental illness, and slipping to be some of the reasons commuters could enter onto tracks.

"Safety in the subway system is something that customers consistently cite as a core driver of their satisfaction and is a top priority for us at New York City Transit,” said NYCT president Richard Davey.

Yellow barriers lining a New York subway station
The program will be monitored and possibly scaled up if successful

"This pilot program will help us determine the most effective ways to keep subway customers safe and focused on getting to their destination, while also addressing track intrusion."

Another recent citywide initiative in New York included the installation of a new public trashcan designed by Group Projects, while recent safety design includes the installation of nets underneath the Golden Gate Bridge in San Franscisco

The photography is by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority