Encouraging a Modal Shift to Passenger Railway Transportation: A Case Study in Adaptable Rolling Stock Interior Design

Jan-Jaap Moerman*, Seppe Van Heusden, Brigitte Matheussen, Alberto Martinetti

*Corresponding author for this work

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Continued urbanization continues to pose one of the greatest challenges to the environmental, economic and social sustainability of society. The modal split between transport modes has remained relatively unchanged in recent decades. This suggests that the level of private car use will lead to even more congestion in urban areas. Therefore, a modal shift from private to public transport should be further encouraged. One of the decisive quality characteristics for preferring public transport over private car use, such as passenger railway transportation, is the level of comfort. However, one of the main challenges for railway operators is the change in demand for capacity during peak hours and the demand for comfort during off-peak hours. The purpose of this study is to investigate the applicability of adaptable design in rolling stock interior to facilitate adaptations using case study research. The proposed design concept was evaluated and compared with current coach interior configurations using grey relational analysis. The case results showed that the design concept was adaptive by providing more options to meet the different needs of comfort and capacity. In addition, three new guidelines were identified that can generally serve as functional guidelines in the development of more adaptable assets in use to further encourage a modal shift.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9701
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2022


  • sustainable mobility
  • modal shift
  • adaptable design
  • public transport


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