New York Times, An Einstein for the Subways? A Lawyer Suggests a ‘Genius’ Fix:
It has been about a month since Craig Avedisian was declared an almost-genius, a finalist in a “genius challenge” contest with a $1 million prize. Whatever else is going on in the right and left hemispheres of his brain, the designation has not sunk in yet, he said.
“Here’s a guy, a solo lawyer, who thought he had an idea, and I got this far,” he said. “It was David versus Goliath, and David got heard. That’s the essence of it.”
Mr. Avedisian, 54, is not one of those a disheveled-looking Nobel Prize types who has tramped around an Ivy League campus the way Albert Einstein or John F. Nash Jr., of “A Beautiful Mind,” did. He is tallish and looks trim in a dark suit, a crisp white shirt and a carefully knotted tie. A commercial litigator, he lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. ...
Other measures of exceptionalness? He said he did not know his I.Q. He said he had a B average in law school.
But then, he is only an almost-genius. For now. Maybe he will win the contest and become a full-fledged genius.
He reached his current status because of an idea he submitted when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced the “genius challenge” last summer, a few days after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the city’s failing subway system. By the agency’s count, Mr. Avedisian’s was one of 438 entries from 23 countries. ...
Mr. Avedisian ... said his idea could expand capacity on subway trains by 40 percent on average and by 65 percent on some trains. He called it “simple” and “user-friendly.” ...
The slowest part of a conversation with Mr. Avedisian is the tell-us-all-about-it part, because he will not discuss details of his idea for the subway while the contest is still going on.
The transit agency said he was a finalist in a category called “Rapidly Deploy Modernized Subway Cars to the Subway System.” (The other categories involve modernizing the antiquated signal system and improving the communications infrastructure.)
The transit authority said Mr. Avedisian had proposed “adding up to four cars to trains currently in operation to increase both train capacity and passenger comfort.” The agency said Mr. Avedisian’s longer trains would stop at every station, but not every car would open. “Some cars at the front and back of a train will not platform at every station,” the authority said, “but generally will platform at alternating stations.”
In plainer terms, using an existing 10-car train as an example, the first four cars would open at one station, leaving the last four beyond the platform with the doors closed. At the next station, the train would in effect overshoot the platform, allowing the last four cars to reach the platform and open while the first four stayed shut. Six cars in the middle would open on the platform at every stop.