New York City just unveiled the subway of the future -- here's what it looks like

New York City is home to the best subway system in the US, but commuters are often forced to cram together in the cars during rush hour.

A new plan imagines NYC subway trains with wider doors, allowing more riders to enter and exit freely, among many other changes.

Announced July 18, NYC Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new plan calls for 1,025 new subway cars and renovations to 31 subway stations across the five boroughs. The $27 billion plan, set to be completed by 2020, is aimed at making the subway less crowded and more tech-connected.

The new design features centipede-like cars that don’t have interior doors. Similar in design to a long hallway, each train car will accommodate 10% more passengers than existing ones.

The wider doors, going from 50 to 58 inches wide, will reduce a train’s waiting by a third, Thomas Prendergast, the MTA’s chairman, said
in a statement.

In addition, the city will install new circular bars with two handles (allowing more riders to hold on) and more security cameras on trains and in stations.

There will also be cosmetic changes to the trains, like Wifi, LED headlights, USB ports, digital displays announcing arrivals, and seats that flip up to create more space.

It’s a much-needed makeover, but there’s still more to do even after the plan is complete — including infrastructure changes that mitigate the threat of floods. As urban planners and city officials have noted, NYC will likely experience sea levels that are up six feet higher than today by 2100. The water would destroy the city’s subway tracks.

New Yorkers already know the risk. Hurricane Sandy devastated portions of NYC’s subway system when it hit in 2012.

The city has already started looking at how to engineer flood-proof subways. Among the ideas are the “Flex-Gate,” large waterproof sheets that cover subway entrances to keeps the water out, and the “resilient tunnel plug,” a giant balloon that inflates to plug up a tunnel.

The wider doors and tech upgrades are at least a start.

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