In terms of alleviating overcrowding on trains, we only have to look at the changes in station environments and the increased competition between rail operators to see how design plays a major role.
Train punctuality and safety concerns were previously the major causes of angst among passengers. Now that standards of safety and service have improved so, too, has the number of rail users. As a result, passengers’ grievances have switched to overcrowding.
We are now witnessing train refurbishments driven by customer needs. Designers will play a role in delivering this, but we must be aware that this comes at a price. Tighter seat pitches, reduced catering offers, fewer tables – so I guess the seated customers will suffer to a degree.
Joseph Mitchell, Creative director, Brand Environment, London EC1