Interesting subway design: would you do a usability study?

I was in the Atlanta airport recently. It’s big, so they have a couple of subway lines to take passengers to the terminals, hotels and car rental offices.

There aren’t many seats on the trains, which I think allows more space for people to stand, and makes it easier to get on and off.

To make standing easier, they have poles. But notice the design of the pole: instead of a simple vertical pole, it divides into three parts, providing more hand-holding space. Even if someone leans on the pole, there’s  space for someone else to hold on.

A pole to hang on to in the subway of the Atlanta airport. It divides into three poles to make more room to hold.And, as a friend noted, the bars aren’t so far apart that people can get their heads stuck inside. That’s a good design, huh?

I wonder if they tested this at all, or just assumed that it would work because it’s so clever. I assume that someone at least rode trains for a while, observing how people reacted and used it.

What do you think? Would you test something like this, or just build and install it? Have you seen any other clever designs like this?

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