Honolulu Rail Transit

Whenever it finally opens, Honolulu Rail Transit will be one part Vancouver SkyTrain — it will use driverless technology, allowing trains to run every few minutes, and tracks will be elevated — and one part BART. The south shore of O’ahu is a narrow urban corridor, so a single line can offer extensive coverage, and Honolulu is an Asian-influenced city with hundreds of highrises, so ridership will be high. By extending deep into the leeward suburbs and ending just short of the Waikiki tourist zone and the University of Hawaii, however, the initial segment will replicate BART’s mistake by failing to serve core destinations while providing metro-level service to outlying areas. (Note that the first phase of that first segment will not open until later this year.)

DESIGN NOTES

O’ahu is a lush, green island surrounded by deep blue seas, under a bright blue sky — so of course operator HART’s official colors are green and blue. HART’s graphic design efforts to date have been nothing to write home about (including livery that’s inoffensive, if a bit unimaginative), but it’s not too late for the agency to invest in maps and signs that are clear, welcoming, and convey a sense of professionalism. The typeface here is Open Sans.

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