Passenger centred design


Through an enterprising day of ‘consumer closeness’, we helped to embed a richer understanding of passenger needs among top design and engineering teams at HS2.

Heralded as the future of UK rail travel, all aspects of the new HS2 network – stations, trains and services – need to be at the cutting-edge in terms of speed, safety and passenger experience.

To help achieve this, HS2 invited Revealing Reality to organise an event for its top designers and engineers. The client was conscious that, while the designers’ ability to deliver a technically advanced, efficient and elegant railway was beyond doubt, there’s always a risk that users’ real-world needs can be overlooked in the pursuit of a ‘design ideal’.

Needing to shake things up, we delivered a day of activity that alerted stakeholders to the dangers of false assumptions creeping into their thinking – and showed them how user research can help them unlock genuinely new ideas for innovation.

Styling the day as a routine training workshop in HS2’s Canary Wharf offices, we introduced the team to some passenger personas – inviting them to brainstorm those passengers’ needs – before then introducing them to the real people behind the personas.

Together, designers and passengers then set off on a series of journeys around the DLR route – allowing stakeholders to directly observe, understand and document the emotional and practical nuances of passengers’ experiences.

The event has since led to a number a of follow-up design research commissions – working with HS2 designers to jointly identify the user-centred opportunities by which they can create a truly revolutionary railway.