How to make stations ever more efficient? That was the question of the conference. What we are sure of is that stations are at the cutting edge of a technological and structural revolution.
Quality of service becomes quality of life and to improve quality of life, and therefore the quality of service, reduce stress, improve the experience of the individual, railway stations have to use emotions. It’s simple, it’s people first because people are workers, managers, users and travellers. We need to focus on people, humans at the centre of attention through emotions (sound design, colour design, infrastructure design, ...) and new technologies to facilitate the use of infrastructure. To make stations more pleasant, the actors must work to find answers to the negative effects of the activity of people (noise, pollution, waste energy). That’s why the first key words are “sustainability”: Make railway stations more sustainable in order to make them legitimate critical infrastructures and to make railways the major and dominant mode of transport in cities.
Railway stations are multi-faceted infrastructures, influenced by innumerable territorial, social, economic and cultural characteristics. People and cities are changing so the railway stations need to evolve. First point, the Smart Station offers no more than a simple mass transit rail transport service. The station has seen its area of influence expand in the city with the urban transport policies making these places multimodal poles. We are beginning to split people into two categories: travellers and users. Each of them are customers but not in the same way. Travellers are railway company customers and users can be both travelling and shopping inside the railway station. The intermodal hub is an opportunity for everybody to come to the railway station without taking railway transport.
Secondly, the station has always been able to rely on the city but from now on, the smart city needs smart infrastructure to develop itself and the smart station is the best place to start.
The smart station goes beyond what the station is able to offer. This involves collaboration between railway activity and city services. The railway activity of the station becomes one element among many others and the station can legitimately open its fields of possibilities and opportunities (economic, social, cultural, environmental). Smart Stations are changing the traditional way of thinking. The cities are now hyper connected and smart stations enhance this phenomenon.
It is almost impossible to define a smart station, there is not only one model but a lot of models. We can confirm that with the number of different profiles during the conference that came to deal with this theme. The second key words are “collaboration”, collaboration between cities actors, we can’t do that alone. Make what is impossible possible with new technology, data and the digitisation. But digitisation can be as much a tool as a risk for the user. Security and privacy are two concepts that must be considered especially in the global context. The Internet of Things (IoT) supported by internet can offer new opportunities and solutions for customers/users and managers (reduce stress, tool to move forward your destination, make facility management easier in the station…).