Is this the commute of the future?

November 9th, 2018

Are the activity based office trends leaking out into the real world?

In 2019, Dutch National Railways will serve almost 400 million train rides in the Netherlands. Commuting to work or touristing, traveling solo or in a larger group – not all train rides are the same. But today, most trains are designed in a traditional, familiar fashion; standardized, cramped, and sometimes a little too close to other travellers.

In the light of this, the train operator contracted architect firm Mecanoo along with interior design firm Gispen to create a concept train for the year 2025.

Image: Mecanoo

Image: Mecanoo

“The train of the future will be a dynamic, open environment that permits all kinds of passenger activities. The train isn’t just a tube that you travel in from point A to point B. It’s a comfortable place to spend time where you feel at home and where a variety of activities that passengers want to do are possible.” says Arne Lijbers, associate architect at Mecanoo

Instead of traditional 2 by 2 modular design, that is sets of 2 seats on each side of the aisle, the concept includes 12 different modules that can be combined to create unique spaces. The railway company suggests that these modules will be made for easy re-arrangement, in order to adapt as the needs change over the course of the day, or the week.

Image: Mecanoo

Click to enlarge. Image: Mecanoo

The different modules have been designed to individually be more suitable to specific needs like studying or working on one hand, or more social activities on the other hand. This thinking is very much in line with the developments we see in offices, where the standardized cubicle is giving way to more activity based spaces.

It’s still framed as a concept, and not something the Dutch National Railways are commercially committed to. However, the company says the vision is very much aligned with the company’s direction of increasing both capacity and customer value.

To see more of the concept train, check out the slideshow below:

As more and more employees strive for more flexible working conditions, this is a step in the right direction. But isn’t it a little odd that being able to work efficiently on the commute to work is still a concept of the future?


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