Co-creation for train station design

Artist view of a station pod showing the clock tower and a sheltered entry.
Impression of station pod from 7N Architects

Design Council in the UK is extending its experience in co-design and co-creation for train station design. Co-design is the new buzz-word in access and inclusion, but it doesn’t stop there. A large cross section of people had a say in the process of designing a station.

Network Rail want to build on the legacy of Great British railway stations to create the transport hubs of the future. Railway stations are an integral part of a community and can offer more than a platform and a train. That’s why they are including a community or retail space. 

Design Council and Network Rail ran a national engagement exercise called ‘ThinkStation’. They spoke to more than 320 people representing a cross section of people and ran eleven workshops. Nine priorities were identified for the next generation of railway stations:

      • Support existing and new communities in their local area
      • Reflect and embody local character and heritage
      • Provide consistent quality of space and service
      • Establish connections with and between town centres and/or high streets
      • Celebrate and improve the quality of green spaces and open spaces and/or provide access to them
      • Be welcoming and facilitate inclusive travel
      • Support and better integrate cross-modal transport 
      • Help to address climate change 
      • Ensure longevity by accommodating changes of use, capacity and trends

The engagement process covered three key areas:

      • Environment and sustainability
      • Inclusion and accessibility
      • Community and enterprise

Just over half of survey respondents said they feel welcome and safe when using their local station. More importantly, 86% said difficult interchanges sometimes prevented them from taking the train. 

Proposed designs

A standard pod design has evolved from the engagement process and is shown in a video on the webpage.

Aerial view of the proposed station pod design.
Photo by 7N Architects

The pod design has sheltered waiting areas and facilities such as baby change and accessible toilets. The signage is easy to use and lighting is designed to make people feel safe. A tall clock tower is the station landmark and the first step in wayfinding.  

The webpage is a survey, but using the NEXT button at the bottom of the webpage will take you to the various sections of the project. The illustrations are very helpful in visualising the project. 

An older woman is writing something on a wall chart alongside others.