Tag: railway


Transport chaos and the passenger

Transport chaos and the passenger

As the snow comes down so the UK transport system descends in to chaos. Given the general irregularity of heavy snow perhaps this is understandable. But, as a group concerned with people, what stands out when watching the news reports is the number of people stuck at airports and train stations saying “we’ve been given no information”. How can this be so?  It would appear...

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Managing overcrowding on trains

Managing overcrowding on trains

With the release today of the MP’s report declaring that overcrowding on trains will only get worse attention will surely turn to how design and human behaviour can help. On the BBC website today one expert declares that it is all about creating and maintaining flow.  This may well be true but it seems to us to deny many of the basic motivations that govern...

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New uses for railway stations

New uses for railway stations

We’ve talked in this blog and in press articles about the potential for using station buildings or buildings near station for community or commercial uses – in part to promote better security by having more activity going on in or around the station. And here is a great example from Edge Hill station in Liverpool where a disused building in the station has been put...

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Tube station training & simulation facility

Tube station training & simulation facility

The rail industry in the UK has long been on the slow side at investing in training & simulation facilities.  So it was most welcome to see the development of a new facility for Transport for London to simulate tube station operations (as reported in the Evening Standard) Counter to the argument put by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, on-the-job training can rarely equip staff with all...

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Are station ticket machines “confusing”?

Passenger Focus have highlighted the issue of how ticket machines are confusing and difficult to use for rail passengers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10701953.  It is an issue that we have been talking about on this blog and in some of our other activities for a while now. The train companies point to satisfaction surveys as evidence that there isn’t actually a problem.  However, from our experience, this isn’t...

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How human factors can improve train interiors

How human factors can improve train interiors

As the railway industry becomes more focused on the passenger, the role of human factors in producing good design that delivers what the passenger wants is becoming more important. In this article in the International Railway Journal this month, our very own Mike Stearn highlights the areas in which improvements can be made.  This starts with understanding the different kinds of passengers travelling on the...

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What about “standing seats” in transport?

What about “standing seats” in transport?

All transport systems seem to be suffering from capacity and overcrowding posing the question of how can we fit more people  on the train, plane, etc? Perhaps as its usual PR-approach Ryanair have suggested that standing seats might be a way forwards.  This article on the BBC website lines a number of people up to shoot the idea down as far as aviation is concerned...

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Understanding how the train service operates

Much of the human factors work we do in the transport industry is, in the end, about making the train service more passenger and therefore customer focused. Criticising the railways in the UK for being too inward focused on how they operate has often been too easy. One example of this is in how train operating companies explain to the passengers what is happening when...

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Is it safe to manage a station with less staff?

The recent claims in the news that LUL are planning to reduce the numbers of staff on station platforms (http://bit.ly/biujz9) highlights the issue of the role of staff in stations and how information and control systems are used to manage them. We know that passenger satisfaction is strongly linked to the visible presence of staff in stations – they provide a source of live information...

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Is there a better way to influence passenger behaviour?

Railway stations, along with airports, are mainly designed to deliver throughput of people along with retail opportunities for the operator. Whilst all these are important for the success of the station it sometimes feels that the individual needs of the passenger are further down the list of priorities. For example, at Kings Cross in the rush-hour you can watch the battle between passengers and the...

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