It’s been a cold winter in DC this year. Transit riders, stuck waiting for buses and trains, are particularly susceptible to extreme cold. Chicago, where these sorts of temperatures are more regular, has a nice way of keeping their riders warm.


A heat lamp at a Chicago station. Photo by the author.



Most of the outdoor CTA stations have these heat lamps placed strategically in L stations. In many cases, these are placed inside the plexiglass shelters on the platform.

To save energy, these don’t run all the time. Riders can turn them on by pressing a button. They turn off after a minute or so, but riders who are still waiting can push the button again.


“Push for heat.” Photo by the author.


Given the warmer winters we experience here, it may not be worth installing these on WMATA, but they would certainly be nice to have on days like today.

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Capitol Hill. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is an employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.