They're training staff on improving safety through "environmental design." E.g. designing stations with safety in mind.I've talked in the past about designing stations in such a way, including Lincoln Fields Station recently as well as Eagleson Park and Ride a couple years ago. Despite the obviousness of considering safety when designing and building these stations, it seems rarely executed proactively. That's a real shame, for two reasons:
— David Reevely live (@ReevelyLive) August 21, 2013
- If stations aren't designed with safety in mind, then they tend to be unsafe for riders. (Obviously.)
- It's always cheaper and more effective to design with safety in mind than to retrofit stations to make them safer.
With this in mind, it behooves the city to consider safety as the designs of Ottawa's newest transit stations are finalized--especially those within the downtown tunnel. If the most recently-issued concept designs of the Lyon, Parliament, and Rideau stations are accurate, then the city needs to re-assess their design in order to make them safer.
These conceptual images below show a "side platform" configuration for all three underground stations, with eastbound and westbound platforms separated by the tracks themselves (and a big fence/barrier between them). I'm not sure why the choice was made to use side-platforms; they tend to be somewhat less crowded/hectic for riders and offer the potential for more retail space, but I've yet to read justification from the city's side.
They all look pretty similar (a separate problem), and they're all designed with side platforms--which goes against the recommendation that all three stations feature 180-metre long centre platforms, which was made in the December 2009 Planning and Environmental Assessment study. This image, from that study, shows the difference:
As you can see, the centre-platform design features a much more open area for riders. It would definitely be hectic during rush hour, and may even be slightly confusing for infrequent users unless there's ample very clear signage of which trains go where. On the other hand, getting from the westbound to eastbound platforms is an easy couple of steps, as opposed to a couple flights of stairs.
Outside of rush hour, though, the openness of the centre platform is a boon to safety and security. More people are congregating in one area, which is safer (and is the motivation for OC Transpo's current "Night Stop" program). It's also easier for security guards to monitor, and sightlines are greatly improved so people can be vigilant and respond to or report any unusual activity. There are also fewer places for people to hide, lowering the risk of surprise robberies or assaults.
In short, it's a design that makes safety its first priority and doesn't unduly interfere with service in any way that can't be offset with proper signage. If Ottawa is truly going to design its future transit stations with safety in mind, opting for centre platforms would be a good place to start.