IIT-B adds colour to the Mumbai's rail network
Industrial Design Centre's colour coding plan to improve crowd management at stations and reduce commuter anxiety, but the authorities aren't so kicked
Mad crowd at railway stations, especially during peak hours, doesn't surprise Mumbaikars any more. But, in order to change this unfortunate truth, IIT Bombay has come up with a unique solution that will literally add colour to our railway network. The Industrial Design Centre (IDC) of the institute has suggested colour coding the entire rail network of the city, including the Metro and the Monorail, so that people do not have to waste time trying to figure out which platform there trains would halt at.
According to IDC, the city's rail network is in desperate need of comprehensive line naming and colour coding to facilitate easier identification as well as to aid better commuter navigation for faster crowd movement. Sources at the institute said that the design of Mumbai Rail Map (MRM) is a student project at the IDC. Mandar Rane, IDC associate professor who teaches communication design, said, "In a revised MRM, our students have segregated the rail network with colour-blind friendly codes. The process will require the least amount of expenditure. Also, the plan has been formulated keeping in mind the various constraints faced by the railways, in terms of workforce and commuter management."
Rane added, "On the station name signage, we can paint the semicircles in the rail network's colour. For example, if Western Line is code pink, Mumbai Central station will have pink semicircles around its platform signage. A Harbour line station such as King's Circle will flaunt the green code on its template, which would be the network's colour. Reflecting colour codes in the design of the station name signage will serve as a visual clue and it would help passengers orient themselves accordingly. While the proposal sounds simple, colour coding can help in the long term by reducing commuter anxiety, especially in a high-density network like Mumbai."
Railway officials, however, do not seem as kicked about IIT Bombay's plans. "While it sounds like an acceptable solution, but station signage are designed nationally and there's a standard code across Indian Railway stations that we cannot deviate from. A better idea would be to keep the railway signage as it is and colour-code new modes of transport coming up n the city. It would be easier and faster to implement," a senior railway official said.
MMRDA confirmed that they are yet to decide on the colour-coding plan. "We will examine the station signage design plans if those are presented to us and take a decision on whether the plans are feasible on the Metro network," MMRDA's joint project director (PR) Dilip Kawathkar said.
Water activist Amla Ruia speaks to mid-day