Airports would benefit from standardized rail systems, report says

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UK-based consultancy Transporting Cities has released two case studies examining the passenger journey on the Heathrow Express rail service for London Heathrow Airport and Airport Link rail service for Sydney Airport in Australia.

The consultancy focused on the journey experience for arriving international passengers who travel through the airport and onward to the rail links. The assessments assumed the role of a first-time user and were conducted as a walkthrough experience from plane to train. Beginning at the gate, the route proceeded through the arrivals process into the public arrivals area, before entering the rail station and boarding platform.

Liam Henderson, founder of Transporting Cities, said, “I would say that the biggest challenge in providing excellent journey experience is recognizing that passengers’ assumptions on services are informed by their home systems. In the case of major airports, passengers are arriving from far flung destinations and will interpret rail services differently whereas the user experience has usually been designed by a local planner.

“Making the system accessible for these passengers will increase the overall user experience. I think there is an opportunity for some level of standardization in information provision across major airports so that a visitor to any global airport can expect to see a familiar guide through to the rail service.”

Gavin Clare-Campbell, project manager – commercial sales at Heathrow Express, said, “It was extremely helpful to have an external entity consider the plane to platform path, working with an objective perspective and providing invaluable insight.

“The report has served in identifying opportunities to test and improve the passenger journey, reaffirming the need to revisit and improve elements that had already been identified historically but had not received license to implement.”

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Dan originally joined Passenger Terminal World in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest aviation news, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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