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Future railway: Mass personalisation and private pods?

christoffer miguel frendesen | ingeniøren | 20 may 2016 

PA transport experts, Leif Caspersen and Simon Scott, are quoted in an article in Ingeniøren about the future railway and mass personalisation of passenger space. According to Leif and Simon, the railway industry needs a major transformation to compete with the autonomous vehicles of the future. Passengers’ expectations of transport continue to grow and with the increasing competition from autonomous vehicles, the railway industry needs to focus on the passengers’ experience at an individual level – utilising technologies in other industries such as Smart Home and automotive technologies.

“The railway industry needs to add more value to passengers’ transport experience, and this requires a deep understanding of what passengers want. At PA, we believe in transitioning from mass transportation to mass personalisation of transport,” says Simon.

They highlight how mass personalisation allows a passenger to configure their personal space to their requirements, air temperature, lighting, noise and seat support. In the longer term this will mean pods (computer-driven vehicles) that are able to transport passengers on both railway tracks and on the road.

Leif explains: “Using pods as a means of transportation means designing a train based on the customers’ travel experience. Passengers don’t purchase a transport vehicle, they purchase a travel service. Basically, trains are more efficient compared to cars when looking at speed and number of passengers that vehicles can carry. Moreover, the need for different and more transport is increasing, so the existing infrastructure needs to be used more intelligently.”

Simon concludes: “Insurance issues, legislation and regulation are the biggest impediments to the development. The technology exists, however, developing the new systems will be complicated.”

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