RUSH HOUR IS ROUGH
THE PROVOCATION: Organize New York City into three different time zones, called Interzones. Interzone 2 (IZ2) is the standard time zone. Interzone 1 is two hours before IZ2. Interzone 3 is two hours after IZ2. Work schedules could remain 9-5, they would just be staggered to mitigate congestion.
Peak commuting hours in cities cause traffic jams, accidents and stress. Regardless of efforts such as car-sharing or increased public transit, the routine of daily life dictates that people travel at similar times during the course of a day.
Instead of employing traditional means of traffic mitigation, this project inverts the way we think about scheduling. Why not change time itself? Can multiple time zones exist within one city?
IT'S 5 O'CLOCK SOMEWHERE
This graphic generalizes the ebb and flow during peak commuting hours in urban centers. By altering the pattern of congestion, traffic could theoretically reduce overall. There’d be no concept of rush hour.
This proposition is rooted in current sentiments and trends in the urban division of time.
We have tools that help us navigate time differences effortlessly, such as Google Calendar and world meeting time websites.
There are cities that exist between multiple timezones.
People naturally identify with different schedules (morning person vs. night owl).
We are familiar with the idea of timezones, and navigate through them successfully.
Work places are becoming more open to flexible schedules.
In an effort to navigate a new system of time zones, various products could be introduced to the market. One such future concept could be a tool that facilitates easy coordination of schedules. Each rotating disk represents a different interzone.
IN REAL LIFE
Despite their gridlock, cities are well-oiled machines that have tremendous infrastructure in place to govern how people move through a city. Interzone would build upon the existing structures, such as updating parking regulations and taxi standards.
ONLY TIME WILL TELL
The chart below chronicles a plausible day in the life of a family operating through three different interzones. A professional who rises first can take her lunch break with a night owl artist who is just then getting up for breakfast.
DEPARTMENT OF TIME
In addition to city infrastructure and helpful products, government oversight is a critical piece to the success of Interzone. New York City would establish a Department of Time to manage outreach, organization, and oversight of the new initiative.
Feasibility aside, the power of this project is its provocation. By speculating a possible future, the experiment prompted a discussion of various cultural shifts and questions that might occur if something like this were to happen.
How might family dynamics adjust to interzones? What of friendships and dating?
What would time-distance relationships look like in the same city?
Might interzones become a class symbol? Would we begin to organize future neighborhoods according to interzones?