Print Email Facebook Twitter Small Railway Stations: A concept for improving passengers' travel experience and the stations' functionality Title Small Railway Stations: A concept for improving passengers' travel experience and the stations' functionality Author Jacobs, K. Contributor Christiaans, H.H.C.M. (mentor) Santema, S.C. (mentor) Faculty Industrial Design Engineering Department Product Innovation Management Programme Master of Science Strategic Product Design Date 2013-03-20 Abstract Introduction Most people prefer waiting at big railway stations above waiting at SRS's. While SRS's are the engine’s which feed passengers to the big railway stations, limited attention has been given to this important group of stations. Since a couple of years the focus points of the NS includes the improvement of SRS's, it is of importance to research where the potential improvements of these SRS's are lying. To contribute to this development this graduation project will explore the opportunities to increase passengers' travel experience on SRS’s and make these stations pleasant and useful places to stay. The input for the actual concept development consists of literature and passenger research in which the context and the passengers of SRS's are researched. These results are translated into potential concepts, followed by the development of the final concept. The evaluation, conclusions and recommendations will reflect on the whole process. Analysis NS Stations is operator of 380 railway stations and aims to bring these stations alive by offering services and facilities to their customers and thereby create a convenient DTD travel experience. Project developer of NS Stations, NS Retail Company, exploits several retail formulas on these stations. The Retail Company has always been focused on the big stations and their passengers, while SRS’s are the ‘life line’ of the big stations. SRS's need a different approach than big stations, especially in terms of target group. Because of the low number of passengers on SRS’s the target group for any commercial facilities at the station must be enlarged. The most obvious audience to involve can be found in the direct neighbourhood of the station and are the residents of the city. To get a better understanding of the characteristics of SRS's an analysis about these stations was done. From this analysis it is concluded that every SRS is unique in its own way. Even if two stations have several comparable characteristics, a different type of passenger will have a significant influence on the success of the same retail format. Besides the fact that all stations differ from each other it can be concluded that SRS’s: Are located on a central place in the city/village Are typical commuter stations Transports mostly ‘must’ passengers and, Are often unsafe and not clean To give a certain feasibility to this project it is decided to choose one station as case study for further concept development; the station of Nijkerk. The literature study explores the theory of Customer Experience Management (CEM) and challenges in (travel) retail. Effective CEM seems to start with a good understanding of the customer journey and exists of expectations of the service and customers’ judgment when the service or experience is consumed. For an effective approach of managing this customer experience, an unambiguous approach within all departments of a company should be applied. Service performance of NS should at least meet customers’ expectations in order to achieve satisfaction. For increasing this satisfaction, NS should use a more effective approach by deconstructing the journey into experiences. Every part of the DTD journey contributes to the overall customer experience in which the transfer time has a lot of influence because of its low experience value. Travel retail is characterized by speed, convenience and reliability and will win the confidence of the time-pressed consumer. Clear and reliable information will decrease stress among passengers and increases their purchase intention. Consumers expect freedom, service and access at every moment of the day; the most recognizable characteristics of Multi-channel retail. After the literature study, the station, passengers and surroundings of Nijkerk are researched. The location of the stations seemed to be very suitable for a better integration with the city center and his residents. The station building is used highly inefficient and people do not value their time spend on the station. In other words, the great possibilities the station offers are not being used optimally. After this a stakeholder analysis is done which has identified the key parties involved in this project and suggests that better cooperation of, amongst others, NS and municipality will contribute to a more successful concept development. Passenger Research A qualitative passenger research is done to gain passenger insights concerning the passengers' perception of a SRS, its train journey and their travel experience. This research has been conducted by means of context mapping, including a group session and observations. The group session was held with five frequent travellers of Nijkerk and observations were held at the same station. From the results of the passenger research two personas are created and used to reveal opportunity points in the passenger journey. The Young Always Connected Consumer is chosen to focus on in further development steps. He/she is characterized by its independency, relaxed behaviour and quick adaption to new technologies. All the insights gathered from the passenger research and the research concerning Nijkerk have revealed three main areas of opportunity: (1) Unpleasant stay on the station, lowering the travel experience (2) Highly inefficient use of the station building (3) The location of the station close to the city centre To help translating all the insights and focus areas into a successful concept a design vision is created: The young always connected traveller on SRS's expects services that makes the DTD journey a fluent activity, a seamless travel experience in which the time at the station is perceived as pleasant and effective time. Low effort and no obstruction during the train trip. The travel experience should lower the stress factor, create convenience and change the perception of a train trip from a common ‘must do’ activity, into a memorable train trip. A SRS brings passengers and residents together and contributes to a memorable station experience. This design vision and opportunity points are the input for the idea generation which starts with a brainstorm session. Ideation & Conceptualization The ideation was started with a brainstorm session, based on the three focus points described above. This brainstorm resulted in 62 ideas which are clustered and transformed into idea cards and used in the idea judgement session with NS colleagues. This session has examined the feasibility of the ideas and the extent to which it would increase passengers' experience. This session resulted into three potential concept directions of which one is chosen as leading concept element: a take away service. The concept is optimized with two other elements, a waiting facility and a café-restaurant. These elements together form an optimal concept fitting the characteristics of the station (environment) and the potential of the station of Nijkerk. To prevent the concept from separate elements and make it attractive for a broad target group, the concept resulted in a cooperation with HEMA. The choice for this retailer is based on the power of the brand, their attractive pricing and assortment and their recent developments regarding presence in small neighbourhood stores. The combination of HEMA and the three elements resulted in: HEMA Take Away, HEMA Wait & Inspire and HEMA Lunch & Dining. The concept attracts, passengers residents and employees of neighbouring businesses. The concepts increases the DTD travel experience by adding liveliness and comfort to the station. HEMA Take Away The Take Away is the starting point of the concept and meets the needs of an easy and efficient DTD journey. Besides the service offer to the passengers, it is also attractive for non-travelling residents of Nijkerk. For a more efficient service, the Take Away is supported by an online application, which allows customers of the Take Away to order their meal at home or in the train. This allows passengers to pick up their meal immediately after arrival at the station. Customers can pay online or with cash at the desk, but also by using their OV card. HEMA Wait & Inspire The HEMA Wait & Inspire offers passengers comfort but also ways to kill time at the station. Waiting passengers can browse through recipes on the wall, be inspired by the latest products and sales offers and buy several basic or forgotten products from the dispenser. The dispenser sells products such as bicycle lights, umbrellas, gloves or t-shirts. The room has an open design to make it more approachable and in order to create a view on the platform. To fully inform passengers about departing trains, the waiting room is also equipped with time schedule information. HEMA Lunch & Dining Even as the Take Away, the Lunch & Dining offers everyday food and should carry the brand image of HEMA stores: For everybody & quality for good price. Simple lunches and dinners can be consumed at an affordable price. During lunchtime, passengers and resident can come for a lunch, but it also focusses on employees of neighbouring businesses. After the concept development, a cost estimation is made to assess the feasibility of the concept. Results show that, despite the high investment and long pay-back period, the concept in this state is making profit. Because profits are not very high, several suggestions are given for adjusting the concept in order to increase profit, for instance, more effective use of space and opening hours. Evaluation The final concept is evaluated based on the established requirements and wishes. This evaluation resulted in 32/37 achieved requirements. From this it may be concluded that the concept improves the travel experience of the young & always connected commuter and helps building a more functional station environment. Based on the executed research, concept development and evaluation, several recommendations are given, on concept level but also on project level of NS. It is recommended to focus more on surroundings of SRS’s to assess the potential of the city or village, involve other parties in the concept such as municipalities, and get a better understanding of their customers on SRS’s. Several other recommendations, limitations and my own experiences will end this graduation assignment. Subject railway stationsretailcustomer experience To reference this document use: http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:45d78103-33ce-4202-b019-ae521074f01e Embargo date 2014-03-20 Access restriction Campus only Part of collection Student theses Document type master thesis Rights (c) 2013 Jacobs, K.