What are all rail passengers looking for? Perhaps a free seat, the opportunity to make the most of their journey time, and no luggage-related stress.
This June 30 in Paris: SNCF (French Railways) presents the results to date of the first session of its Design Tank. And the operator is clearly hoping the findings will indeed meet passengers’ expectations in the years to come.
“The purpose of this think tank is to bring together clients, experts, partner companies and other SNCF contributors to explore and anticipate the future of mobility, to find solutions to improve our services and offers,” explained Christophe Fanichet, communications & information director, SNCF.
He described the spirit of this transversal approach in four words – open-minded, service-orientated, creative, and enriching.
The theme for this January-June 2016 session – ‘Augmented Mobility 2035’ – SNCF defines as ‘the body of measures and services that enable the simplification and enrichment of travel for both passengers and goods.’
Questions raised included – what could be the benefits of this augmented mobility for society, communities, economic actors, and inhabitants? What are the key objectives and actions for SNCF if this augmented mobility were to become a priority development focus?
From the 540 contributions received, a jury retained the following 3 user topics for further study:
- How to find a free seat or your reserved seat in a train?
- How to make the most of your journey time by linking up with fellow passengers?
- How to securely stow your luggage?
The potential solutions presented today are likely to strike a chord with many if not all travellers, namely:
- A multi-coloured lighting system along platforms for locating coaches with free seats (for trips without seat reservations) – in order to facilitate access and flow in big stations – plus a mobile app to guide/accompany passengers along their pathway to and from trains (in addition to traditional, physical signage) – to reduce stress
- ‘Entraide à bord!’ function (‘ephemeral community’) on SNCF’s existing mobile app to open up journeys by bringing passengers (those who so desire!) together
- The ‘connected suitcase’ – tag+smartphone technology for ‘staying in remote touch’ with luggage deposited at the ends of coaches – to foster peace of mind
The next step, says SNCF, will now be to take these innovations further through more studies, prototyping and testing, depending on their current level of development.
“SNCF’s future goal is to position itself as an integrated mobility provider that is both attractive and sustainable,” sums up Béatrice Chavanel, brand director, SNCF.
Now open, the next six-month session of the think tank will focus on the topic ‘Mobility & Civility’.
Further reading (in French): La Mobilité Augmentée 2035
See also ‘Sitting pretty‘