Installing Platform Screen Doors in NYC Subway Stations

A proposal by Carlos, Demir, Jashandeep, Sarah

The City College of New York


The transportation engineering department at AECOM is constantly working to improve transportation systems in the United States and does consulting work around the world to help other nations improve their own systems. This proposal recommends the implementation of platform screen doors in the NYC subway system as a method of preventing delays, suicide attempts, and accidents on the tracks and platforms. The New York City subway system has a huge problem with fires starting on subway tracks as a result of trash being thrown onto the subway tracks. Platform screen doors would promote a cleaner environment for all MTA users by preventing littering on the tracks (RailSystem, n.d.). The reasoning behind the platform screen doors as a solution is that they come at a fairly reasonable price at about a few million dollars per station and are a reliable option (Goldmark, 2012). You can rely on this system as it is proven to be effective. It has been implemented with great success in subway systems of large cities across the world, such as Paris, London and Tokyo, with our own department doing consulting work with the installation of these platform screen doors in the subway system of Hong Kong. In addition, mortality and fire rates in the subway system of countries with this system are very low and the subway experience is much better in general. The installation of platform screen doors will provide all the previously stated benefits in our own city. The New York City subway system is widely regarded as less than desirable and is in need of an upgrade. The citizens and tourists of New York City do not need their trains shut down for silly things such as painting on the inside, but real upgrades which should have already be implemented. New York City is one of the most modern cities in the world and for it to have such an archaic system is a shame.


 New York City subways have a reputation for endless delays. From something as simple as littering on the tracks, to something as tragic as committing suicide by jumping in front of a train, or getting shoved into the tracks, there are many things that cause train delays. We propose the installation of platform screen doors to prevent these issues. In many other highly developed countries, such as Japan, Korea, and many more, this system is already in place and seems to be effective.

         Our barrier system will work by blocking off entrance to the tracks, which will prevent people from littering, or worse, committing suicide or falling onto the tracks. The barriers will come at a cost of around one million dollars per station, and with New York having nearly 500 stations, the cost would equate to approximately half a billion dollars. This would be only be 3.42 percent of the MTA budget which, as an investment for an incredible upgrade for the infrastructure.

Many people have become lost hope for the MTA as the system seems to be very flawed. Paying 2.75 dollars per ride for a train which is likely to suffer some kind of delay or problem is frustrating. It is time for a change that would give MTA users a real reason to pay the increased price to use public transportation. Furthermore, this is not the only benefit. Implementing these platform screen doors “[improves] climate control within the station”, making the subways more comfortable for riders, and improving efficiency of “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning”, saving a lot of money for the MTA (RailSystem, n.d.). Additionally, the platform screen doors “improve the sound quality of platform announcements, as background noise from the tunnels and trains that are entering or exiting is reduced” (RailSystem, n.d.). Which will also cut down on the noise pollution in New York City which is also a major problem.

Innovation Program:

         The MTA has been around since the 1900s, and has evolved greatly ever since. However, since trains were first introduced, the MTA has struggled with accidents, and still does today. This is the main reason we would like to implement platform screen doors (PSD) in the subway stations in NYC. There are some challenges that present themselves, that would require more than just installing the PSDs; however our company is only responsible for the actual installation of these barriers.

The first step that would have to be taken to implement the platform screen doors would be to measure the length of platforms of subway stations in New York City. Next, the design of the platform screen doors will have to be made specifically for each station, and the cost of materials to implement the design must be found. After the designs are created and approved by engineers as being structurally sound, the actual construction can begin. The construction will need the whole subway to be shut down for at least few days, as the installation is simple and should be quick and simple. To limit delays and to not prevent too many people from being able to use public transportation, only .We will continue to complete implementation of the platform screen doors a few stations at a time until all the subways in New York City have them.

Proposed Process:

The implementation of the platform screen doors would be done by requesting the materials from Chinese subcontractors in order for them to send the materials.  Everything would be sized appropriately by the subcontractors which would minimize any hassle that the MTA might have to deal with, as a simple as a set of legos. The purpose of the sensors is to have a dynamic and adaptable door system, as it would be nearly impossible or extremely expensive in order to remodel the way that the trains work for them to always stop at the same place where the doors are located. Therefore, with the sensors, the doors would be intelligent enough to adjust how much some are moved in order to compensate for the lack of precision of the MTA conductors.

The platform screen doors will consist of an upper structure, a drive mechanism, platform screen doors, and emergency exit doors and access door to tracks.

  • Upper structure: Holds the entirety the platform screen doors together as a brace.
  • Drive mechanism: supplies the energy that moves the platform screen doors, allowing them to function.
  • Platform Screen Doors: A series of doors at a train or subway station, at the edge of a platform, that prevents access beyond the platform when there is no train to be boarded (Your Dictionary).
  • Emergency Exit Doors: Doors than can be manually open in case of an emergency such as a power outage or malfunction.

The implementation of the platform screen doors will be approximately five hundred million dollars. The measurement, calculations, blueprints, structure security check, and building will all also cost money. We will need contractors, laborers, architects, civil engineers, and structural engineers. Additionally, we will need permits to build in the subways. With the proposed time length of two years the cost of all previously stated things to build the platform screen doors will be around one billions dollars. The total budget of the project will be one and a half billion dollars.

Materials needed:

Metal sheets

Acrylic sheets

Servo motors


Stainless Steel Clad

Anodize Aluminum

Full Glass


Goldmark, A. (2012, December 31). NY MTA Tepidly Explores Platform Barriers After Subway

Track Deaths … Again | WNYC | New York Public Radio, Podcasts, Live Streaming Radio, News. Retrieved from

Platform-screen-door. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Horton Doors(n.d.). Retrieved from

RailSystem. Platform Screen Doors (PSD). Retrieved from