Previous to the corona crisis, thousands of travellers used the Rotterdam metro every day and some routes were at their maximum capacity during rush hour. Public transport company RET expects that the number of travellers will quickly increase again as soon as a vaccine for the virus is on the market. The RET has asked Mecanoo to think about how metro vehicles can be refurbished ensuring there is maximum capacity during rush hour and maximum comfort during off-peak hours, with the ambition of a comfortable, hospitable metro interior for everyone and an increase in transport capacity by more than 20%.
In the new metro interior, every square centimetre is used to create as much space for travellers as possible. Mecanoo researched all kinds of variants for standing, supporting, leaning and sitting, which increases the variety in types of positions passengers can travel. This resulted in five modules of low and high chairs, benches, leaning elements and armrests that facilitate all possible sitting and standing positions.
The result is a dynamic sitting and standing landscape with a warm appearance, in which more passengers can travel comfortably and pleasantly. You can easily find your way within the metro, exits are easy to find thanks to lighting integrated into the ceiling that helps with orientation. The exits and entrances are spacious, so that the flow of passengers to the central area of carriages is stimulated and boarding and disembarking is smooth.
"Mobility is part of modern society; it is a daily pursuit, just like housing, work and recreation. Therefore, designing for mobility must be about people deriving a sensory experience from their everyday mobility." - Francine Houben.
The design is currently in an experimental pilot phase. The possibilities of this innovative metro interior are being explored with the help of mock-ups, virtual reality and customer research. Following this the design will be further optimized, after which the possibilities for implementation within existing metros will be investigated.