The Future of Long Distance: What We Learned at RIIS 2024

RedCabin was delighted to welcome rail professionals from around the world to Montreal to discuss the latest innovations in railway cabin interiors at its first summit for 2024.

At its biggest rail summit to date, the event, hosted by Alstom, showcased the latest developments in the industry and connected the most forward-thinking engineers, designers and manufacturers. The agenda provided dedicated roundtable and working group sessions for expert speakers and industry leaders to share insights and commentary that reinforced why the railway interiors market size continues to grow.

The Future of Long Distance: What We Learned at RIIS 2024

The future of the passenger experience remains front of mind. Trending topics included ‘innovation meets sustainability’ and ‘ensuring the customer experience guides our choices’, which highlighted the ongoing need to make interiors accessible for all. While there are still challenges for the industry, the value of the summits is to enable stakeholders and decision- makers to come together to collaborate and innovate, identifying needs and solutions built on collective industry expertise.

Back to Basics

One of the key areas of discussion was getting the basics right in train carriages. Through panels and roundtables, improvements continue to be made in the interests of people with reduced mobility, or those with visual or auditory impairments, with experts highlighting the importance of this being considered at the design stage. The specific needs of passengers remain a big part of the innovation process, with flooring, lighting and seat design all forming part of the conversations.

Making cabins both comfortable and accessible for all travellers is an ongoing priority for the industry, with the need for innovation reflected in the summit’s survey of delegates. Seating and flooring were both highlighted by respondents as in need of improvement, with a need for recycled/lightweight materials also important so that sustainability regulations and expectations are met.

With planning for the future of long distance rail travel in the US well underway and a key topic at the summit, the need to update cabins for the travellers and needs of today is clear. Dedicated accessible storage, more accessible lavatories and greater use of display and audio technology to provide announcements so that everyone can gain access were all highlighted as industry priorities.

As well as this, how customer service forms part of the journey is crucial to improving the experience of all passengers. The rail industry continues to reassess how passengers interact within the cabin, so it was great to welcome so many experts to share their insights with the delegates.


The industry has now embraced the importance of creating a more sustainable future. This topic appeared in numerous discussions, with leaders from multiple sectors questioning what the critical next steps are, and how best to address them.

Sustainability in the cabin remains a priority, with this year’s agenda including a panel discussion on how innovation meets sustainability. Experts from Metzo shared the company’s new progressive PU graphite foam to lead the ESG agenda in the industry, and hosts Alstom also held a working group to show how choices in colours and materials matter.

Delegates continued to share their opinions in social media polls, voicing that improvements can continue to be made in cabin sustainability through the increased use of recycled materials and more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

What Comes Next?

Following the success of this summit, it’s clear that challenges caused by complex regulation are still a concern within the industry. However, with collaboration between industry players on the rise, so were conversations about overcoming the hurdles that experts face when working collaboratively to improve the passenger experience.

Innovation in railway interiors will continue to prioritise the passenger experience while ensuring that the design process also incorporates the importance of sustainability and accessibility in future plans. Dedicated modules for work, socialising, and relaxation are the future of long distance travel, with plans already in place for innovation in 2024 and beyond, and ready to be explored again at the next RedCabin summit later this year.

This article was originally published by The Jargon Group on behalf of RedCabin.

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