The combination of taking the subway every day and reading design books had me thinking of ways to improve the subway user experience, other than the obvious one of making it cleaner.
One thing that struck me is the feeling you get when you see the train leaving the station. It’s annoyingly stressful and makes me wonder how long I have to wait until the next train comes. Anything that can avoid this outcome would make waiting for the train a better experience. A way to do this is to limit the sensory feedback provided by seeing and hearing it leave. To avoid seeing the train until the last minute, subway stations can be designed to have stairs that need to be climbed in order to get to the platform. This way, the train and track will be hidden until the platform is reached. Making the train quieter would reduce the noise and prevent you from being aware that a train has left.
Of course, another cheaper and simpler way to deal with this is to just have something to occupy your time when waiting for the next train - that’s why having an iPad preloaded with ebooks is great.