Context and Background
VIA Rail’s Station of the Future initiative has been identified to address the need to modernise train stations, rendering a seamless customer experience starting with VIA’s train station and continuing on-board the train and ending with departure from the destination station.
The project is one of six prioritised over the upcoming years under VIA Rail’s Destination 2025 programme launched in 2016 as a roadmap to secure its future and position the organisation as a leader in the passenger rail industry. At its core, the objective is to move towards a forward-thinking, high-performance and innovative organisation by 2025.
Station of the future: Design thinking session, Montreal, January 15 & 16, 2019
Over January 15 and 16, VIA Rail Canada partnered with Nod-A, an agency based in France and Canada, to organise a two-day design thinking session in Montreal to define the station of the future by engaging a group of cross-functional working teams representing key units of its rail operations.
What is design thinking exactly? It’s a co-creation workshop where we exchange ideas, imagine, design and prototype viable and concrete solutions, while relying on empathy for a new outlook. In other words, we have put ourselves in the shoes of customers, employees and communities.
While the first day was set up to be in year 2030 allowing participants to empathise and understand customer needs in the future, the objective of the second day was to transform all ideas into tangible 3D objects, representing the different zones of activities in a station. The prototypes built by the teams were then presented to the company’s executive committee.
In this regard, UIC was pleased to accept the invitation of VIA Rail to provide its expertise on the status of stations in the future, inter-modality and mobility hubs, as well as present best practices in the railway industry. The session provided an opportunity for the UIC representative, Mr. Clément Gautier who is an expert on the train stations from the UIC passenger department, the possibility to have a better and more comprehensive understanding of the motivations and new ideas either proposed or already launched by some of UIC’s North American members. Additionally, it has paved the way to strengthen cooperation between the Station Managers Global Group (SMGG) and VIA Rail.
UIC congratulates VIA Rail on their event through which they offered a flawless human-centric experience. Such collaborative and creative events are encouraged and UIC is always committed to support similar initiatives. Via Rail’s project will most likely be presented during the next UIC North America Regional Assembly.