Resilient travelers

Resilient travelers

  • social
  • weather
  • hurricane sandy
  • sam schwartz
  • resilience
  • access

New Yorkers have demonstrated resilience in many ways, including their approach to getting around the city. Residents have expolited multimodality options to address a variety of daily transport needs. How they transport themselves, in and around the city, is a great example of how New Yorkers are resilient travelers.


The Wagner School of Public Service study, Transportation During and After Hurricane Sandy, which describes the massive public transit disruptions, flooding, gasoline shortages and gridlock experienced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. What did New Yorkers do? Many of them were able to turn to alternative modes of transportation, which included walking and biking, and three days after the storm hit, the number of people using bicycles as a form of transportation tripled to 30,000.

That event marked an extreme example of disruption, but every day commuters face interruptions in train service, delays, over-crowded buses, cordoned-off areas due to construction or protests, congested subway platforms and sidewalks, and scheduled and unscheduled suspension of various transit services.  

"Three days after Hurrican Sandy hit New York, the number of people using bicycles tripled to 30,000"

So how do New Yorkers deal with all of that? It seems that the more information, the more patient and understanding the traveler, as they navigate around barriers.  This hunger for information is evidenced by many of our Challenge submissions and discussions in the Community Café - many proposing new solutions for sharing transportation data, alerts, and current transit status. Accurate information propels our resiliency with confidence and enables us to construct and execute our Plan B for reaching our destinations. 

In the blog post Access grants greater oppportunity, Sam Schwartz talks about transportation being about more than just arriving at your destination.  Rather, it's a combination of micro, macro, and social elements combined that weave together our transit system.

As you're reading this, the rhythm of pedestrians, bikers, trains, buses and car services in the city continue to ebb and flow at an awesome and amazing rate. I encourage you to contribute to our discussions and to share your ideas to help nudge the constant transit flow towards a more accessible and efficient system. Just like the the City's motto: Excelsior - let's head ‘ever upward’ or rather, in our case let's Mobilize New York!


-- Susan


Aside from being one of our Community Facilitators, Susan is a User Experience (UX) Researcher and Educator, currently consulting in New York City. She uses design thinking to advocate useful and usable community-focused outcomes. Susan also teaches English as a second language.


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