This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine, Issue 1 2023.
Covid has made permanent changes to travel and its effects will reach far into the future. Local and long-distance public transport became much less attractive during the pandemic.
Not only due to the possibility of infection, but also due to changes in the working world with home working and the like. According to the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), the Covid pandemic in 2021 prompted fewer passengers to use regular bus and rail services than the already reduced count in 2020. The number of passengers fell to the lowest level since recording of them began in 2004. Destatis reported passenger numbers of around 7.9 billion for 2021, which is 4% lower than for 2020 and 34% below the level of pre-crisis 2019. A similar picture is evident in other countries. Nonetheless, passengers are expected to return after the pandemic. At the same time, the mobility revolution and the desirability of a sustainable society have been hot topics for several years.
All are reasons enough to refocus the awareness of potential passengers on public transport, such as trains and buses. In addition to the obvious advantages like shorter travel times and better safety, key inducements for passengers are comfort and ambience. It is important that passengers feel at ease, avoiding any impression they are being carried to their destination in a purely functional means of transport that was solely designed to carry the greatest numbers of passengers.
The interiors of trains play a particularly important role in making the rail experience as pleasant as possible for travellers, whether they are commuters, families or tourists. Interior designing requires creative approaches in terms of colour and design language as well as the technology increasingly expected by passengers. If we take a look at the Deutsche Bahn’s model project IdeenZug or the Avelia Horizon concept of French train maker Alstom, they certainly show where the journey is headed: more comfort, more aesthetics, more infotainment.
Railway-News magazine Issue 2, June 2022: Mankiewicz - Sure Thing: You Can Rely on Mankiewicz in Times of Crisis
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