Kuala Lumpur is about to get a spiffy new subway, courtesy of BMW. Klang Valley, part of the Malaysian capital’s surrounding metropolitan area, is building a three-line metro system, and by 2017, it will be up and running with 58 trains designed by Designworks USA, a subsidiary of the German auto company. As the city tries to double its public transportation ridership in the next few years, this may be the answer: make your subways more stylish.
This isn’t BMW’s first foray into transit design–the company also worked on a redesign for San Francisco’s BART trains. Here, the exterior of the train features a pattern of lights inspired by the faceted architecture of Kuala Lumpur, while inside, decorative interior panels are overlayed with a symmetrical pattern evocative of traditional Kuala Lumpur design, according to BMW. The subway cars also feature a blue LED lighting scheme, including under the seats–which the company claims will make the car feel roomier and safer. The doors will have a guiding light and beeping system to help alert passengers with disabilities as to when the doors are closing. The stainless steel cars will be 95% recyclable, and energy efficient.
“It symbolizes self-confidence, technological leadership, progress, and safety,” Laurenz Schaffer, president of BMW Group DesignworksUSA, said in a statement on the design. It’s hard to tell from a few renderings how these fancy trains will fare once they’ve been underground for a few years, but in a region where public transportation ridership decreased from 47% to less than 20% since 1970–in part because increasing affluence has allowed more people to purchase cars–a little design love could go a long way in making the subway attractive even for those who can afford to drive. This way, people can still brag about riding to work in a Beemer.