Considering how many people work on trains, we think a dedicated work car is easily warranted. We also believe that people would be willing to pay a little extra for a seat that was equipped for working and that they could reserve. Wi-fi makes reservations possible with little effort, even on commuter trains. Through its appearance, our work car clearly announces its purpose, suggesting the appropriate behavior. It instills a sense of togetherness, as everyone is there for the same reason.
The car is created for a flexible and dynamic setting, echoing current trends in workplace design. Usually, train layouts are fixed. They don’t fully provide individual privacy or offer the flexibility necessary for group meetings. We’ve addressed this with individual seats attached to tracks at the floor and ceiling. This allows the seats to be arranged individually or in clusters, and electricity can run to each seat through the ceiling track. All seats are still secure and within a designated zone, maintaining a clear passage through the car. Each seat can be rotated so passengers can face the traveling direction, the window, or a fellow passenger, giving them control over their own set-up.
Each seat is a mobile workstation featuring a pivoting tray table with a cup holder, a power outlet, a storage tray and a coat hanger. It also has adjustable blinders (winglike elements), that regulate privacy by moving the opening angle. A reading light is integrated into one of the blinders. For group arrangements, the blinders can be opened up to convey a “room”.
We think the work car would facilitate collaboration and social interaction and increase creativity and productivity. Colleagues who ride together can collaborate, people with shared professional interests can network, and those who need to accomplish focused work can retreat into the privacy of their seat, which provides a sense of comfort and aids concentration in a transient environment.