Air-Rail Passenger Journey Assessments call for more standardisation across global airports

Posted on in Members' News

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UK based passenger experience consultancy Transporting Cities has released three case studies considering passenger journey experience on Heathrow Express, Sydney Airport Link and West Midlands/Birmingham Rail.

For the two air-rail links, Transporting Cities has focused on journey experience for arriving international passengers travelling through the airport onwards to the city rail link, identifying the escape points along the way.

“I would say that the biggest challenge in providing excellent journey experience is recognising that passengers’ assumptions on services are informed by their home systems. In the case of major airports, passengers are arriving from far flung destinations and will interpret rail services differently whereas the user experience has usually been designed by a local planner,” Liam Henderson, Founder of Transporting Cities said, “we come to a system fresh and provide this external viewpoint”.

The assessments assumed the role of a first-time user and were conducted as a walkthrough from plane to train. Beginning at the gate, the route proceeded through the arrivals process into the public arrivals area, before entering the rail station and boarding platform.

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“It was extremely helpful to have an external entity consider the plane to platform path, working with an objective perspective and providing invaluable insight. The report has served in identifying opportunities to test and improve the passenger journey, reaffirming the need to revisit and improve elements that had already been identified historically but had not received license to implement,” Gavin Clare-Campbell, Project Manager - Commercial Sales at Heathrow Express commented.

According to Liam, after receiving feedback from operators he sees that there is more work to be done to advocate for the needs of the passengers who are unfamiliar with the service.

“Making the system accessible for these passengers will increase the overall user experience. I think there is an opportunity for some level of standardisation in information provision across major airports so that a visitor to any global airport can expect to see a familiar guide through to the rail service.”

Liam will be presenting the findings at the annual Global AirRail Conference, taking place in Brussels on 13-14 November. 

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