Why New York City Subway Stations Are Missing Countdown Clocks – CityLab

Why New York City Subway Stations Are Missing Countdown Clocks:

‘One of the things that was most frustrating when doing this work,’ Barone says to me, referring to preparing the report, ‘was the murkiness. And the lack of uniformity in how each of these systems is being done.’

‘It seems to me that there are concurrent projects going on that—’ He trails off, thinking for a minute. ‘It’s like, you’re building ISIM to find out where the trains are located—but CBTC does that. You’re spending money to get your interlockings to be centrally automated, yet CBTC can do that too… ATS initially came out before they really thought about moving to CBTC, and therefore the first ATS is not even compatible with it. It can’t plug in. There’s a whole plan now to do a new version of it…’

He seemed weary. I certainly was. I told him I honestly just wanted to know why the F train didn’t have clocks. I never expected it would be so complicated.

(Via The Atlantic’s CityLab.)

Detail-filled story about the problems in upgrading the New York subway system for trackside countdown clocks. It’s easy to scoff and think “Government is inefficient” (and, well, sure, it is) but harder to dig down and acknowledge that there are people working very, very hard to break through technical and logistical obstacles.