New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority released this stylized video as part of an initiative to reduce delays.

Kudos to the public transit agency in New York for providing the clearest explanation of subway delays that we’ve ever seen. It’s this short video in the style of an old-school 8-bit video game.

Yes, the idea is that sometimes delaying a train can prevent further delays by not compounding the gap between trains. Anyone who has waited impatiently on a hot subway platform might find this concept counterintuitive, but transportation experts generally agree that that the evenness of service is as crucial as avoiding individual delays.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees public transportation in New York State, released the video as part of a new initiative to reduce subway delays in America’s most populous city. After declining in the recession, New York City subway ridership has returned to record levels at all hours of the day.

The agency said that 15 of its 20 subway lines are at peak capacity, in terms of passengers, and most of the maxed-out lines can’t take any additional trains to alleviate the problem—thus, the new measures to reduce the effect of existing problems on the rest of system. Crowding, police activity, and sick customers account for 40 percent of subway delays, with maintenance responsible another 48 percent.

Transportation nerds will enjoy the MTA’s full presentation on its plan to reduce delays, which includes an explanation of why evenness in service is so important:

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

More from Quartz:

Bridesmaids Are Helping Save Urban Outfitters

Who You Hang Out With Could Be Inadvertently Impacting How Much Money You Save

Here’s How Quickly Interviewers Decide Whether or Not to Hire You

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of a small fleet of electric Chevrolet Bolts cars.
    Transportation

    Should Electric Vehicle Drivers Pay Per Mile?

    Since EV drivers zip past gas taxes, they don’t contribute to the federal fund for road maintenance. A new working paper tries to determine whether plug-ins should pay up.

  2. a photo of Los Angeles in 1962
    Transportation

    Mapping the Effects of the Great 1960s ‘Freeway Revolts’

    Urbanites who battled the construction of the Interstate Highway System in the 1960s saved some neighborhoods—but many highways did transform cities.

  3. A photo of anti-gentrification graffiti in Washington, D.C.
    Equity

    The Hidden Winners in Neighborhood Gentrification

    A new study claims the effects of neighborhood change on original lower-income residents are largely positive, despite fears of spiking rents and displacement.

  4. A man and a woman shop at a modern kiosk by a beach in a vintage photo.
    Design

    Why Everyday Architecture Deserves Respect

    The places where we enact our daily lives are not grand design statements, yet they have an underrated charm and even nobility.

  5. Transportation

    Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S.

    The widespread failure of American mass transit is usually blamed on cheap gas and suburban sprawl. But the full story of why other countries succeed is more complicated.

×