Hitachi prototyping

DCA and Hitachi win 2015 User-Centred Product Design Award for Class 800/801 train

Published on: 13th October 2015

DCA and Hitachi Rail Europe have won the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) Stanley H. Caplan User-Centred Product Design Award 2015. This US-based award recognises outstanding and innovative practice in product design, alongside the consumer research and design methods used to develop and evaluate the interior design of the Class 800/801 train for the Department for Transport’s £5.7bn InterCity Express Programme (IEP).

“Stan and I are very excited about the Hitachi Class 800/801 train winning the award and wish to congratulate the project team on their achievement,” said award co-chair Dianne McMullin. “This is the first time an international candidate has won the award, and the judges found DCA’s work to be exemplary.”

The design process took into consideration all users of the trains, including employees and passengers.  An extensive consultation process was undertaken throughout the design process which involved numerous passenger groups, representing  commuters, cyclists, wheel chair users and visually impaired travellers, to name a few.

Rob Bassil, DCA Technical Director said; “It’s a real honour to receive such a prestigious award - the whole design team is thrilled to see their hard work recognized in this way. The overriding philosophy behind the design of the Hitachi Class 800/801 train was multidisciplinary, with human factors playing a critical role from the outset. This allowed us to explore opportunities to improve safety, efficiency, and the user experience from the earliest stages of development.”

Rob went on to say; “Prototyping played a key role, with the design team and project stakeholders using rigs and mock ups throughout to explore and evaluate the compatibility of the interior design with identified passenger and staff activities. Features of particular note include the universal access toilets on the train.  Great care was taken to work with user groups to determine the optimum space to enable easy access. The design process also looked at luggage capacity and bicycle storage.  Increasing passenger comfort was at the heart of every decision taken, with posture and length of travel time playing a significant role in the seating. For the cab, in addition to the traditional ergonomic analysis, a new assessment method was developed to consider explicitly how the control desk layout could be optimised to match the required sequence of driving tasks. A separate practical test method was also developed to assess the impact on the cab design of glare from both internal and external light sources.”

Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe said; “We are very proud that DCA and Hitachi Rail Europe have been recognised by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.  It is a testament to the hard work of our team, which kept the fare-paying customer at the heart of the design of the Class 800/801 interiors throughout the consultation process”.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said; “Providing an exceptional customer experience has been at the heart of the design of these high-tech trains and it is fantastic to see Hitachi and DCA’s work being internationally recognised. The Government is investing record amounts to build a world-class railway. These state-of-the-art trains, being delivered for the Government’s £5.7bm InterCity Express Programme, will transform rail travel between Britain’s towns and cities with more seats and faster and better journeys.”

The Class 800/801 electric and bi-mode fleets will go into passenger service on the Great Western and East Coast main lines from 2017 and 2018 respectively.

This year’s HFES award will be presented on the 27th of October during a special session of the 2015 HFES International Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California. Dan Jenkins, DCA’s Human Factors and Usability Senior Skill Leader, will be in LA to collect the award and to deliver a presentation on the product and its development methodology. DCA and Hitachi Rail Europe will also be presenting their experiences of designing the Class 800/801 interior at this year’s Railway Interiors Expo 2015.