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With 15 National Institute of Design (NID) - Ahmedabad students having mapped the journey to come up with passenger-friendly design interventions, taking a local train may soon become a stress-free, seamless experience. Their work will soon be presented to the Railway Board in July, 2016. The Railway Ministry in order to give the people passenger friendly coaches have signed an MoU with NID. NID faculty Praveen Nahar and Md Naim Shaikh held a Mainline Electric Multiple Unit or ‘MEMU live lab’ for 3rd year industrial and product design students who took journeys and mapped passenger-experience on MEMU trains that connect semi-urban and rural areas in India, regarding the same.
These NID Students were divided into three groups and did research change the whole process starting from buying tickets to onward journey inside the train and commuter experience after getting down at station to reaching home computer oriented.
Aparajita Tiwari, a student, said, “We redesigned the current Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVMs) and suggested it be manned by personnel so that more people use them and are less intimidated by the interface. Tickets can also print information on how long it is valid on which trains, the route and trains one can take back. The whole interface can be colour-coded so as to reduce the cognitive load on users. The vending machines should have slots for notes and coins and smart card and should be accessible in local language for easy use.”
Digital screens plying information on routes inside trains, toilets between every two compartments, bigger windows with an aluminium mesh to stop people from littering outside, a door with a rod in between to aid easy access and use of plastic and cloth on the metal handrails to avoid hand rails from becoming hot during summers were suggested by the young designers. “A communication system similar to a traffic signal can be developed on the platform. Commuters looking to get in can just look at signals that will show the availability of space inside a compartment. This can be done easily through employing heat sensing technology, cameras or face detection that will then send signals to a communication system located outside on the platform which can flash different colours signifying space availability,” said Gaurika Singhal, another student.
Addressing last mile connectivity need for passengers after alighting from a train, Jayneel Shah said, “MEMU can go for a multi-modal transport model to ferry the passenger home. A basic map showing the next station, transit system in that city/town, including buses, autos and cabs that one can take home can be shown at the back of the ticket. Through ‘guided wayfaring’ like having colour coded smart cards that are extended to involve local transport systems, railways can ensure that more people purchase these smart cards. This is similar to the transit system at San Francisco Bay (BART) and can be mixed with Indian elements.”