Friday, December 17, 2010

Rail Interiors Berlin

The Rail Interiors Conference was held in Berlin in the Scandic Hotel on the 13th and 14th of December. The programme included presentations from Alstom, Siemens and Austrian Rail as well as from Martin Darbyshire of tangerine and Paul Priestman of Priestman Goode. The speakers are listed here.

What is clear is that the rail sector is fighting hard to become more customer focused and to be a viable alternative to air travel. Somewhat ironically, it is therefore trying to see how lessons on customer experience may be transferred from aircraft cabins to railway carriages. Some examples are beginning to emerge. Austria's operator OeBB has introduced the Railjet service with three passenger classes (Economy, Business and Premium) to choose from and particular attention paid to passenger flow and airline-style 'comfort seating'.

Alstom Transport
is building a stronger design focus in its innovation strategy to create compelling passenger experiences and trains that can lead the sector. For Alstom, the key interior design issues were presented as Access and fluidity; Brightness and lighting; Modularity and Perceived quality. When creating the AGV the concept was of 'a tube to design' with a focus on the passenger experience as 'connected, easy and exclusive'.

Giving the second keynote of the two days Martin Darbyshire spoke about tangerine's distinctive innovation process and how processes and similarities within the airline sector could offer value and insight for train operators and manufacturers alike.

The rail sector is beginning to discover and utilise in new ways the power of design to drive user-centred, non-technological innovation. The urgent need is to raise quality overall to a new level; to drive in creativity to meet future passenger and operator needs and to increase passengers' perception of quality.

Only by doing this, can the rail sector hope to attract an increasingly demanding and sophisticated travelling public away from other modes of travel.

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