Tokyo’s transit system seemed very overwhelming just by looking at the complex line map. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get anywhere without following someone. After riding a few times, I not only felt safe, but I felt like I could get anywhere.
Information about the lines can be easily found at many places throughout the station, like in the picture above. There are signs for arrival times and directional signs pointing to the line name and where they lead to. The directional signs have symbols like arrows and escalators that give visual clues on where to go. In the picture below, the floor is marked with areas where people should wait in line for the trains. The footprints make lining up easy and intuitive.
Even when the stations are packed, it is not too difficult to get around. It is harder because we have a large group, and sometimes we got in the way of the flow of people. But most people travel alone or in small groups, which makes it easier to navigate the crowd. The system makes the flow easier by a stations are designed to make moving around easier with a variety of floor markings. Like the footprints, there are other kinds of queue markings (picture below). There are also arrows pointing to which side of the walkway and stairways to walk on.
I also found out the rubber paths (picture above) along the floor are for blind people to follow which I thought was a really smart way to help them get around. Also in the picture above, there are gates where the train lines up to. This barrier makes me feel more protected around the tracks.
The most amazing part to me is how subtle and organized everything is. The signs and directions and information on the train are very intuitive and the system is reliable, making it trustworthy even to newcomers. Even though the map seems daunting at first, it’s designed to be easy to learn.