Trains passing the platform; Trains passing the platform;

RSSB Train Seat Comfort, London

Groundbreaking research to transform train seat comfort and passenger experience

Train seat comfort plays a significant role in determining and achieving overall customer satisfaction. Arising from an industry request and as part of our mission to deliver a better, safer railway, rail industry body, RSSB, commissioned research to improve seat comfort on trains.

Working with RSSB, Arup has created the first seat comfort assessment tool to help train operators rate the comfort of seats as part of a growing industry focus on enhancing the passenger experience of rail journeys. Designed to increase seat comfort satisfaction from 66% to industry wide targets of 90% by 2035, the assessment tool is the result of in-depth research on comfort and uses anthropometric data on UK rail passenger profiles.

Project Summary

1st train seat comfort assessment in the world

1.7billionpassenger journeys potentially improved annually

90%target for passenger seat satisfaction by 2035

The world's first train seat comfort assessment

Collaborating with FIRA (The Furniture Industry Research Association) Arup led the project, providing product design, human factors, and ergonomics advice. Four incrementally adjustable seating rigs were created to facilitate the development of the assessment. The project also included a method of testing, rating seat comfort using a variety of metrics relating to their dimensions, accessories, seat thickness and compression, as well as their attractiveness to give an overall comfort score.

Investment in rail is growing globally, as is the focus on delivering better customer service for passengers. Comfort is a rising priority in this context and our data-driven approach is relevant overseas, adapting the tool by using anthropometric data from other global regions. ”

Stephen Philips Stephen Philips Associate

Improving the passenger experience

The new assessment tool has been published and implemented by RSSB. Train operating companies are using the new tool to inform new seat design for rolling stock. This has the potential to impact up to 1.7 billion UK passenger journeys annually, improving the overall passenger experience and comfort on the rail network across the UK.

It was a pleasure for RSSB research and human factors team to work together with ARUP and FIRA experts to develop a seat comfort assessment tool. This is the first of a kind tool that allows seats to be specified and assessed for passengers comfort. There is no reason why seats cannot be comfortable but ‘comfort’ is a complex concept, and now there is a good level of evidence to inform decisions when it comes to seat comfort. ” Luisa Moisio R&D Programme Director, RSSB

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