Transport design is a niche industry, but one that is very much growing. The design of rail vehicle interiors is taking the lead in this sector as experience and environment become more and more desirable to the passenger. Forbo Flooring Systems‘ marketing assistant, Chloe Taylor, sat down with Graham Love from industrial design and engineering consultancy business, Atlantic Design, to find out more about their vision when carrying out rail rolling stock design projects.
Left to right: Graham Love (Atlantic Design), Raymond Koomen (Designer at Forbo Flooring), Bob Summers (UK Key Account Manager – Transport at Forbo Flooring) and Charles Greenway (Atlantic Design)
How important do you think the interior design of rail interiors is?
Rail vehicle interior design is the core business activity of Atlantic Design. Naturally therefore we believe that train interior design is extremely important for a number of reasons: to enhance passenger comfort, safety and well being, to positively represent the train operator’s brand and to promote the development of its business and to facilitate the activities of the staff who operate, maintain and clean the trains. In addition, much of our work is undertaken on behalf of train manufacturers and we therefore understand that well considered, attractive and functional design is critical to the success of their products
What can good flooring design contribute to the interior of a rail vehicle?
Good flooring design can contribute significantly to the passenger’s initial impressions. A product which is well presented and always looks fresh and clean can help convert those initial impressions into a lasting memory of a really positive journey experience. Partially sighted passengers can also benefit from the clear contrast between entrances and passenger seating areas and this can be achieved in harmonious ways which fully integrate with the overall interior design style and feel.
How can interior design in rail enhance passenger experience?
There are many aspects to rail vehicle interior design and each of them has an impact upon the passenger’s journey experience. In general, enhanced comfort helps passengers to reach their destination fresh and relaxed. UK research shows that perception of value for money is the number one priority for passengers and well designed and presented interiors can certainly help support this. Productivity is also a key issue for today’s rail traveller, so provision of the necessary space, privacy and functional features is very important.
When deciding on flooring for your projects, what are the main factors you consider? What is important to you when choosing?
- What type of service is the train providing?
- What levels of passenger density is the train likely to encounter and how does this affect wear and cleanability?
- What are the typical journey times for passengers using the trains and how does this affect the requirements for sound insulation?
- What are passengers’ general expectations of the vehicle interior’s ambiance?
- What are the compliance (fire performance) requirements?
- What range of colour and design options are available?
- What are the product costs?
- What are the product lead times?
Where do you get your inspiration from for projects in rail?
A significant proportion of any rail interior design is dictated by technical considerations, ergonomics, human factors and commercial aspects. Inspiration therefore comes from a wide variety of sources such as other vehicle and transport design sectors including automotive and aerospace, other design areas like architecture and fashion, technical innovations and of course more traditional sources such as art and nature.
Where do you see the design of rail vehicles heading in the future? Do you think there is a growing focus on interior design?
- Reduced weight.
- Increased emphasis on whole life costs (including, for example, cleaning costs).
- Increased emphasis upon sustainable use of materials.
There is certainly a growing emphasis on rail interior design as can be seen from the growing number of design specialists, suppliers, exhibitions and publications. Our experience is that train operators, leasing companies and manufacturers increasingly see design as a key asset in attracting and retaining customers.