On 25 October, Global Mobility Call in Madrid hosted a panel discussion about the strategic transformation of railway stations.
The panel consisted of Elena Múgica, Head of Projects and Programmes Area at Adif, Jesús Campo, General Director of Business and Commercial Operations at Adif, Fermín Vázquez, Founding Partner of B720, and Arturo Corbi, Director of Sustainable Mobility at NTT DATA EMEAL.
This discussion built on Adif’s participation at the first edition of Global Mobility Call in 2022, in which the company committed to remodelling its railway stations to incorporate digitalisation and facilitate multimodal connections.
During the panel, the speakers acknowledged current strategic investments that aim to enhance railway stations, including the transformation of stations in Barcelona (La Sagrera and Sants), Madrid (Charmartín-Cara Campoamor) and Gijón. These projects aim to convert traditional stations into multimodal hubs with improved interconnectivity for passengers and operators.
To do so, the panel acknowledged that railway stations need to focus on humanism, as designers must relate to other people, services and connected experiences; digitalisation of the customer experience, so that services move with the user before, during and after their journey; and sustainability of the project as a whole.
However, limited space was highlighted as a key barrier to achieving this transformative vision. Increased area would allow stations to deliver greater passenger services by minimising stress points, increasing flexibility and reducing foot traffic bottlenecks.
Coordination and flexibility were identified as key elements in ensuring that the different needs of users, local citizens and the ever-changing mobility ecosystem are factored into the design, communication and operation of an adaptable service.
As stated by the speakers, it is the user who makes mobility infrastructure a reality. Transport designers, manufacturers and operators should thus hold the user at the centre of a project’s aims. Mobility must meet the needs of everyone involved, and losing sight of the user and user experience could ultimately lead to a less beneficial service.
Consequently, research revolving around passenger behaviours and preferences should be used to shape railway stations of the future.
During the panel discussion, Arturo Corbi, Director of Sustainable Mobility at NTT DATA EMEAL stressed the need for stations to become strategic multimodal hubs which complement the user’s complete journey. To optimise this potential, the railway station and its processes should be digitalised.
In addition, live information and services should meet the needs of hyperconnected users to help deliver a frictionless connected experience, both physically and digitally.
Jesús Campo, General Director of Business and Commercial Operations at Adif, advocated for “digital multimodality,” pointing out that this would encourage stations to transform into true services. This concept could include the incorporation of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) apps for passengers to plan and book their journey, live information and navigation aids for connecting services, and management software to help operators align common transport connections.
Adif acknowledges that railway infrastructure managers have the responsibility to enhance energy efficiency, reduce wasteful consumption and promote more sustainable future operations. Consequently, operators must work to develop infrastructure and source renewable energy to reduce energy consumption. This energy can then be reinvested throughout the whole network.
The speakers closed their panel at GMC’s Ágora Alliance stage by noting that collaboration and dialogue are important components in transforming the mobility ecosystem. Dialogues must be created and maintained throughout the entire process so that stations can become ‘service stations’ that are strategic, multimodal, flexible and provide the best service to users.
The transformative actions highlighted by the panel are already being carried out at stations across Spain.
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