Memo 1.- NYC Subway: goals and challenges for the 21st century.

To: Professor MacBride
From: Edson Flores
Date: Feb/12/2013
Re: Research topic proposal.

One of the things that sets New York City apart from other major cities is its public transportation system. However, as a saying goes: a city is as good as its subway system. The NYC subway, as convenient as it is, was shown to be vulnerable in the wake of hurricane Sandy, paralyzing the city and leaving thousands of New Yorkers stranded and immobilized.

In my research I plan to focus on the future of the New York City subway system, what challenges does it face today and what others is it likely to face in the long run. Particularly I am interested in the cost/benefit trade off of modernizing the subway system. What impact did hurricane Sandy have on the MTA’s plans for the New York City subway? Given the antiquity of the subway tunnels and stations, what measures are viable to modernize and reduce the vulnerability against the effects of nature of the subway system?  An interesting project to look at is the ongoing construction of Second avenue subway line, is it being built following a different approach towards efficiency and sustainability?

In order to conduct my research I first must delve into the history of the New York City subway. For this I will consult books written about the subject and also visit the New York Transit Museum to take a look at their archives. Once I attain sufficient background, I will contact the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York Department of Transportation for further reference and professional commentary. Additionally, I will look at the different metro systems from major cities around the world and find out what is being done there to improve public transportation via subway; what trends in modern subway systems exist, what environmental measures are being established and following in the construction of subways. I will compare and contrast the other subways with NYC’s and identify what elements could be implemented in New York to overall enhance our subway system.

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