Our goal during the research phase was to gain a level of understanding about transit in New York City, in order to develop believable and compelling future narratives. Specifically, we wanted to understand “How did we get here?” and “What will drive change and how will it be experienced?” As such, we focused our research on 3 major domains: People, Modes of Transit, and Policy Drivers.

For each research domain, we wanted to tie together the past, the present and possible futures. In order to arrive at the answers we needed, we conducted a lightweight research effort using techniques such as graffiti walls, diary studies, ethnographic observations, expert interviews, and literature review.

Key Issues:

Wayfinding remains unsolved, even in today’s information age.
People use public goods for their own private interests. 
People expect the transit system to be one seamless service, when in fact it’s hundreds of systems stitched together.


Policy Drivers
Past decisions still have lingering effects.
New York City transit is moving towards a hybrid governance structure.
Technology is being used to empower policy.
Planning urban projects is now taking into account external events like climate change.


Modes of Transit
City planners have begun to take a region-centric approach to commuter train systems.
Infrastructure design has shifted towards pedestrian-focused planning.
Underutilized waterways present many possibilities for transportation.