How these new train seat designs could make public transport more comfortable

PriestmanGoode has created two new train seat concepts which aim to provide more carriage space for passengers.

Horizon concept, by PriestmanGoode
Horizon concept, by PriestmanGoode

Design consultancy PriestmanGoode has designed two new seats for public transport which hope to make train travel more comfortable and less crowded.

The studio has designed the Horizon and Island Bay seats, which would allegedly create up to 30% more capacity in train carriages, according to PriestmanGoode.

Paul Priestman, chairman at PriestmanGoode, says: “We’re currently facing a dilemma. It’s imperative that we encourage mass transit over the use of personal vehicles if we want to live in a more sustainable world. But as more people use those services, many passengers face stress and discomfort as they try to get a seat or even just board a train.

“As designers, we need to innovate to help alleviate the problem and improve passenger experience.”

Horizon from PriestmanGoode. on Vimeo.

The Horizon concept entails a staggered seat design, which increases the shoulder space between passengers, creating more “personal space”, says the consultancy. It aims to increase space in a train carriage by 20-30%.

The design integrates two foot rests at different heights to suit all passengers, a table that can hold tablets and mobiles at different angles “for optimum viewing”, and a USB charging point.

The headrests can be folded down, and the chairs include more under-seat space and hooks for bags and luggage, removing the need for overhead storage compartments.

The studio adds that the seat itself has been ergonomically designed to “offer passengers a fully supported position”.

Island Bay from PriestmanGoode. on Vimeo.

Island Bay’s concept is one that can be used as two different chairs depending on how busy the train is, and would result in a 15-20% increase in seating space.

The design means that the chair would provide regular seating during off-peak hours, but could also be converted by folding the seats up during peak hours, which would allow more passengers to fit in the same area.

The window table also converts into a seat, which allows another passenger to sit down, and there are extra padded backrests facing out into the aisle of the train for standing passengers. The seats have a twin USB port incorporated into them for charging.

The seating also means more aisle space, says PriestmanGoode, which would provide easier access for wheelchairs, buggies, suitcases and bicycles.

The project is being funded by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), and PriestmanGoode is working with Transcal Engineering as its manufacturing partner, to make the concepts a reality. Rail Interiors Solutions is providing suppliers.

The chairs are currently being exhibited at the Innotrans rail trade conference in Germany, and PriestmanGoode is seeking potential clients. At the time of publishing, there is no indication of when these concepts will be used across public transport systems in the UK.



Island Bay


Hide Comments (2)Show Comments (2)
  • a.s. September 21, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    This project include some good ideas.
    For Horizon seat I am not quite sure about ergonomic aspect of it. Back support looks like is flat, so is not really supporting lower part of back – it can be good for short trip but not necessary for longer journey. Some people spend in train minimum 2-3 hours everyday.
    Also depth of the seat looks as is quite small and again – for space this is good and for someone that don’t need to travel too long. During longer trip it can be quite uncomfortable as weigth of the body has to be supported by legs. Concept itself is interesting, but I would review ergonomics.

  • Trevor Watson November 22, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Where does the doctrine of sitting upright for hours is the best for your back come from, I’m much more comfortable at closer to 45 degrees? It seems to me that seats on public transport have become purely functional because that is how you get more people on the train

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