Using the Beijing Metro for the last few days has been an interesting experience. There are a few features it has which London does not. This is contrast to Moscow which could learn from London and Beijing especially around signage.
Beijing does it utmost to be clear in where you are heading, what the next stop is, which door will open on the train with really nice graphical displays in each carriage (see photos above).
Lets go back a bit. To entering the station because, especially at big stations like Qianmen at Tiananmen Square, it is an experience. The is a lot of railing and herding directing of people to exactly where you want. Once in the station you can get where you want really quickly, apart from the security search and scanning of any bags you may be carrying.
Once on the platform everything is clearly marked once again. The only thing I had to get use to was the signage for the next platforms because occasionally the writing worked from the bottom up.
The coolest thing, and I would not be surprised in the least if London does not get this very soon, is the projection of video – mainly adverts – on to the wall of the tunnels which can then be watched through the doors or the windows.
Also getting on and off the train is planned to be easier by having the arrows on the floor stating where passengers should get off the train and where they should stand to board the train. Not many people follow this rule, but if they did it would really work. Speaking to a guy from London in the hostel who has been to Tokyo says that their subway uses this boarding and exiting system and the Japanese obey the rule and has an even more efficient queue system incase you want to wait for the next train or the train after that.