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ESC 102 – Engineering Science Praxis II – Winter 2008 Page 1

Request for Proposal

Modifying Interior of the TTC Subway Car for Maximum Space Usage


This proposal aims to improve usability of the TTC system by increasing the carrying load of
subways during times of maximum traffic. It focuses on the Bombardier T-1 subway car
models, which were officially introduced in 1996 and are the newest models in the current
subway system.1 Since the older models will soon be retired, it would be most economical to
address the T-1. By increasing the capacity of these subways, the usability of the TTC subway
system can be improved.


The T-1 model employs a subway seat layout that combines longitudinal seating (side seats
facing inward) with transverse seating (seats facing forward or backward). Figure 1 shows the
current arrangement of seats, which includes 66 seats and a total capacity of 250 passengers.2
Although usable, this layout is insufficient in meeting current and future demands.

Figure 1: Current Layout of TTC Bombardier T-1 Subway Car 3

2.1 Overcrowding on Subway Trains

During the morning and afternoon rush hour, TTC subway trains are often crowded. At
major subway stations, due to congestion, the train cannot always accommodate all of the
passengers currently waiting on the platform. Figure 2 presents a photo taken at the St. George
subway station at 6 pm (during rush hour) on Feb. 12, 2008. In the image, the subway doors are
closing on a full subway car while there are still passengers on the platform. Due to such
overcrowding, these riders must wait for another, less-crowded train. Such waiting increases the
riders’ total commuting time and reduces their satisfaction with the TTC.
ESC 102 – Engineering Science Praxis II – Winter 2008 Page 2

Figure 2: St. George Station, Eastbound Platform, on Feb. 12, 2008 at 6:00 pm

The overcrowding issue occurs generally during the morning and afternoon rush hours. In
particular, during the peak of morning rush hour at approximately 8 am, the Yonge subway line
is at full capacity.4 By increasing the space usage, the TTC’s subway system can increase its
capacity and avoid overcrowding.

2.2 Inefficient Space Usage

The layout of the subway car does not encourage use of the car’s maximum capacity. Two
aspects of the layout that affect the usage of the subway’s space are the position of seats and the
position of stabilizing devices.

2.2.1 Drawbacks in Current Positioning of Seats

The seating layout of the T-1 subway cars does not maximize the space available to
passengers. As shown in Figure 1, the combination of longitudinal seats and transverse seats
causes an L-shaped configuration, where the aisle is narrowest (121 cm wide) between the
transverse seats at the site labelled A. This narrowing of the aisle discourages standees from
moving into this space. These passengers would more likely stand in the wider spaces close to
the doors. In addition to the space wasted, these standees compromise passenger flow in the
subway car, as riders enter and leave the train through the doors.

2.2.2 Drawbacks in Current Positioning of Stabilizing Devices

A stabilizing device is any method used by standees to remain in the same upright position as
the subway train moves. Due to the acceleration of subway trains, most standees without
stabilizing devices may stumble, fall, or collide with another person, all of which are undesirable.
The TTC addresses the issue of standee stabilization mainly through the usage of three objects
that passengers hold onto:
1. Vertical poles
2. Horizontal grab bars
3. Handles
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These objects are positioned throughout the subway car and their placement can affect how
passengers use space in the subway. Poor positioning of stabilizing devices would therefore
likely result in poor space usage.

Vertical poles in the T-1 subway car are located along the side seats and have a diameter of
3.5 cm. In Figure 3 the vertical poles between two doors are circled. Passengers that stand near
the sides of the subway cars have poles within reach. However, the standees that must stand in
the middle of the subway width, due to crowdedness, cannot hold onto a vertical pole. In
particular, if a standee is at position A in Figure 3, the vertical poles are very far away. Previous
TTC subway car models included poles in the middle of the subway car but issues regarding
wheelchair accessibility caused the removal of such poles.5

Door Door

Door Door

Figure 3: Position of Vertical Poles in the T-1 Subway Car

To address the limitations of vertical poles, the T-1 subway car also uses horizontal grab bars
and handles as stabilizing devices. The horizontal grab bars are located above the longitudinal
seats and along the middle of the subway width. These bars are placed 185 cm above the
subway floor. Although they are within reach of the average person, standees of short stature
cannot reach the bars. Because of this, the TTC attaches a spring-loaded handle on the grab bars
above the longitudinal seats. These handles can be pulled down and used as a stabilizing device.
However, there are very few handles, none of which are located on the middle grab bar.
Standees that cannot access the grab bars or the handles crowd around the vertical poles. Often,
the area between poles is not used to its full capacity.

Due to the positioning and limitations of stabilizing devices, passengers do not use the
standing area to its full capacity. Crowds are formed in certain areas while other spaces in the
subway are underused. This inefficient space usage can be easily rectified by changing the
nature or position of the stabilizing devices.


This proposal aims to increase passenger capacity by optimizing space usage on subways.
This improvement to the TTC subway system is essential, as it promotes greater usability and
addresses the growing ridership. In addition, increasing capacity by means of maximizing space
usage is more cost-effective than other methods.
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3.1 Increasing Capacity Improves Usability

One of the TTC’s mandates is to provide reliable, convenient, and comfortable

transportation.6 These goals allow passengers greater ease of use of the TTC system. This
defines usability, which is therefore affected by reliability, convenience, and comfort. When
passengers encounter issues such as overcrowding, these factors of usability are dramatically
reduced. By increasing capacity to reduce overcrowding, usability in the TTC system can be
improved in two main ways:
1. Increasing the amount of space on the subway for each passenger.
2. Decreasing the waiting time for subways (and thus, the overall travelling time for
By allotting more space for passengers, the comfort of transit is greatly improved. In addition,
reducing overcrowding would allow people to board the first train that arrives rather than wait
for the next one that still has space. Addressing the issue suggested by this proposal can help the
TTC to improve usability for its passengers.

3.2 Growing Ridership

It is projected that ridership of the TTC will increase in the near future. Figure 4 shows the
TTC’s annual ridership from 1988 to 2002. Although the ridership had initially been decreasing,
it improved from 1997 to 2002. In 2006, the ridership increased to 444.5 million, despite the
fare increases.7 In addition, the TTC aims to reach 500 million by 2011.8 The TTC must be able
to accommodate this increasing ridership in its system.

Figure 4: TTC Annual Ridership from 1988 to 2002

Issues have arisen regarding the TTC’s ability to handle the current population of riders. As
mentioned previously, at the current ridership level, the TTC already has overcrowding in its
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subways. Given that the subway plays a great role in the TTC with 600 000 passengers daily,
increasing passenger capacity on the subway system is a necessity when facing this ridership
growth.10 Methods to increase subway capacity include expanding the subway car fleet and
improving the usage of space in each subway car. This proposal focuses on the latter option,
which is less costly while still addressing the growing ridership issue.

3.3 Cost-Effectiveness of Proposed Method

As mentioned previously, capacity in the TTC system can be increased either by purchasing
new subway cars or modifying the current cars. Modifying existing subway cars will be more
cost effective than other solutions since it utilizes current equipment of the TTC to their
maximum potential; therefore, it minimizes the amount of new equipment that must be obtained.
From 1991 to 2001, the total TTC order of 372 T-1 subway cars required a cost of $851
million.11 This resulted in an average cost of more than two million dollars. This proposal aims
to change the interior of one subway car within a mere budget of $250 000 (details in Section
4.5). The TTC can combat its overcrowding and usability issues through a more cost-effective
solution by merely altering the interior of the subway car.


The following must be considered when designing a proposed solution.

4.1 Passengers

The fundamental requirement of this proposal is to maximize the capacity of each subway car
so that it exceeds the current capacity of 250 passengers. A passenger is defined as any standing
or seated person on the subway train. When calculating the capacity of a subway train, the space
required for both standees and seated passengers must be determined. Such space requirements
are discussed in the subsections.

In addition to capacity, it is required that any passenger entering from any door must have
access to all available space within the particular subway car. This allows for even distribution
of people, better passenger flow, and moderated emergency evacuation.

4.1.1 Subway Space for Standees

For standees, there are five main defining features to consider:

1. A standee is any rider standing on the subway floor.
2. A standee occupies a minimum area of 0.2 m2.12
3. The average standee has a height of 168 cm.13
4. The average standee has an average arm length of 84.5 cm, measured from the centre of
the chest to the fingertips.14 Furthermore, the maximum overhead reach of a standee is
185 cm from the ground.15
5. The available space for standees is the area in the subway car not occupied by furniture,
by the operator cab, or by seated passengers.
In the proposed solution, each standee must have a stabilizing device within one arm’s length to
maximize usage of space.
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4.1.2 Subway space for Seated Passengers

Seated passengers are defined by the following six features:

1. A seated passenger is any rider in the subway sitting on a designated seat.
2. A seated passenger occupies a width of 43 cm on the seat, which is the current seat width
in the T-1 subway cars.
3. A seated passenger requires a seat backing that reaches 41 cm above the seat.
4. A seated passenger requires a seat with the current depth of 39 cm.
5. A seated passenger requires a seat with the current height of 39 cm above the subway
6. A seated passenger occupies a minimum of 16 cm of legroom, measured from the front
edge of the seat.
It is required that if there is an obstacle in front of the seat, a minimum of 27 cm of legroom is
required in front of the seat. The extra space allows passengers to access and leave the seat. As
Appendix A shows, the TTC currently provides 27 cm of room for the window transverse seat,
which has an obstacle in front of the seat.

4.2 Physical Attributes of Subway Car

The layout and dimension of furniture and stabilizing device may be altered without affecting
the following two overall subway dimensions:
1. Width of the door
2. Outer dimensions of the subway car (length of 2278.7cm, width of 313.4 cm, and height
of 255.3 cm from the floor to the roof)16
Changing the subway car size would create issues regarding the mobility of the train in the
tunnels. Because altering the tunnels would be extremely costly, the current dimensions must be
Operator Cab

Inside the subway car, there are two limitations regarding

the operator:
1. The position and dimension of the operating booth must not
2. The operator must be able to access windows on the
opposite side, as shown in Figure 5.

4.3 Wheelchair Accessibility Figure 5: Operator Cab

The subway cars must continue to remain wheelchair accessible. This includes the following
two requirements:
1. The subway car must have a locking mechanism to stabilize the wheelchair while the
train is moving.
2. A passenger must be able to navigate a wheelchair from the subway door to the location
of the wheelchair lock without encountering any obstacles.
Wheelchairs have an average width of 62.7 cm and an average length of 108.5 cm.17 This space
must be provided at the wheelchair lock and for the wheelchair’s path to the lock position.
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4.4 Comfort

In general, sitting is more comfortable. Maximizing the number of seats would increase the
comfort level, which is measured as the ratio of sitting passengers to the total passenger capacity
per car. A higher ratio is preferable for this criterion. The current comfort level of the
Bombardier T-1 subway car is 0.264 (66 seats/250 total passenger capacity).

Passengers generally prefer transverse seats to longitudinal seats.18 The seated comfort is
evaluated using a ratio of the number of transverse seats to the number of longitudinal seats. A
higher ratio would indicate greater comfort in seating.

4.5 Cost

The proposed solutions must allow for prototypes that can be constructed within a budget of
$250 000. When evaluating solutions in terms of budget, a less expensive solution would be
favoured over one that is more costly.
ESC 102 – Engineering Science Praxis II – Winter 2008 Page 8


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ESC 102 – Engineering Science Praxis II – Winter 2008
Appendix A – Dimensions of the Current Subway Layout
1645.9 cm 316.4 cm

2278.7 cm

Height of backing = 41 cm
Height from floor = 39 cm
Depth = 39 cm
Width = 43 cm
152.4 cm 27 cm 115 cm

72 cm
100 cm

129 cm 86 cm
86 cm
190 cm 143 cm 287 cm
115 cm

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