Railway stations, along with airports, are mainly designed to deliver throughput of people along with retail opportunities for the operator. Whilst all these are important for the success of the station it sometimes feels that the individual needs of the passenger are further down the list of priorities.
For example, at Kings Cross in the rush-hour you can watch the battle between passengers and the operators. Passengers all want a seat and when seats are in short supply they want to make sure they are first on the train. To do this they try to get as close as possible to the platform our train is arriving at. But the announcement of the platform is usually left until the incoming train arrives. This creates a stand-off with the passengers guessing which platform the train will arrive at and congregating around the barriers - ignoring all the calls over the public address to return to the main concourse. Whilst there are many operational reasons for this it is a constant fight against the behaviour of the crowd.
Maybe we need to be more imaginative about how we influence behaviour in public spaces such as stations. We loved this video of changing how people used stairs by making it fun. Not necessarily practical but thought-provoking never the less...
Labels: design, human behaviour, railway, station