What to Know
- You can start from scratch or from a number of preset subway maps
- Players can tear down subway lines and stations or pave the way for new ones in long-neglected corners of the city
- The game uses census, jobs and transportation data to estimate the number of riders at each station
It may have taken more than two decades for the cash-strapped MTA to build a new subway station, but you don’t have to wait that long to create the New York City transit map of your dreams.
Brand New Subway is a game that lets you shape the city’s subway system however you want. You can start from scratch or from a number of preset subway maps, including the present day, the early 1900s and the future (ahem, Second Avenue Subway).
Players can tear down subway lines and stations or pave the way for new ones in long-neglected corners of the city. L train riders may find comfort in reimagining their line, which will shut down for 18 months starting in 2019.
The game uses census, jobs and transportation data to estimate the number of riders at each station. Station numbers are added up to generate a system-wide daily ridership, which, when combined with an estimated single-ride fare, results in a letter grade. The current subway system scores a B on the scale, according to the game's developer, Jason Wright.
Wright said the game is meant to “evoke an imaginative spirit, to empower people to envision transportation according to their needs and desires, and to arouse the fun of tinkering with maps.”
Brand New Subway is part of Medium’s game design competition based on “The Power Broker,” a lengthy biography about controversial urban planner Robert Moses, whose work shaped the New York City area for decades to come.
Although Moses wasn’t too keen on mass transit (he devised the Long Island Expressway), players of the game can take inspiration from his unrelenting vision and create a subway system that reaches all New Yorkers… or at least the front door of their apartment building.
Play the game for free here.