Project Firefly, © Nils Jünke and Johannes Müller, KH Weißensee

Firefly. A project at Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin seeks to optimise underground train travel

Aside from this period of pandemic, there is usually strong demand for public transport such as underground trains. Passenger numbers in many locations have virtually exploded in recent years. It is impossible to renew the fleet completely and fit it out accordingly in order to manage the changing capacity requirements, which results in older trains being put into use, too. With the Firefly project, Nils Jünke and Johannes Müller from the Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin offer a response to the continued increases in system-wide delays that happen due to late trains and passengers boarding slowly from station to station. Their proposed remedy is a solution based on a more even distribution of passengers. Information is designed to be understood more intuitively for travellers by using a system of lights, with the Firefly modules showing exactly where the train is going to stop. The modules record how many passengers, if any, are waiting for the train. Once all have boarded, the amount of free space remaining on the train is calculated, and this information is sent to the passengers waiting at the next station through the visual displays on the platform. The Firefly displays, which are integrated into existing platform infrastructure, are intended to encourage passengers to spread out more evenly along the platforms and trains.

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