With rapid population growth predicted to continue for years to come, the city of Oslo needed to upgrade its public transport and develop the next-generation tram for its citizens. For seven years, Designit worked with Sporveien and Ruter with an inclusive design approach to help bring new trams to Oslo's streets that would cater to the needs of all users, including travellers and employees.
Using an inclusive design approach ensured that travellers' and employees' diverse voices, experiences and insights were present from beginning to end. To start, we produced a visionary and engaging Design Guide with Ruter's internal design team, Sporveien's diverse teams, representatives from different employee unions, technical managers, stakeholders, and many different interest organisations. The early and extensive involvement ensured a design guide that travellers and employees in Oslo felt ownership over, that could challenge the suppliers by setting a clear vision, requirements and guidelines for the interiors, exteriors and overall Oslo tram experience.
Throughout the procurement, design and development of the new trams, we continuously conducted interviews, surveys, observation and testing with travellers of all shapes, sizes and abilities. We also worked closely with drivers and other employees to ensure a good working environment. Activities included, among many other things, building and testing with life-size cardboard models and running three full-scale tests of a 1:1 mockup, continually iterating after each test. This vast user involvement process taught us about challenges and opportunities, which we converted to change requests. The fact that we worked this way throughout allowed Sporveien and Ruter to negotiate with the vendor, CAF, to modify their standard Urbos 100 light rail vehicle platform.
Involving users from the start also meant that each design detail was discussed from several perspectives. By using inclusive design, we have proudly helped create and deliver the most inclusive and user-friendly tram for Oslo's citizens for the next 30-40 years.
Sporveien started testing Oslo's new trams with people on board on January 31, 2021. The city could finally see and experience the results of the detailed and long-term work, which has given Oslo a new tram program, including 87 new units by 2024. The new trams are more spacious, safer to operate and easily accessible with more and wider doors, step-free access throughout, and open entry areas. They provide employees and travellers with a smoother, more efficient experience.
The maiden voyage was attended by the Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen, City Counsellor, Environment and Transport Sirin Stav and CEO of Sporveien Cato Hellesjø.
The new tram is one of the most significant infrastructure investments undertaken by Oslo Municipality. An inclusive design approach has been critical in shaping 'the blue veins' that will be a prominent and essential part of Oslo's infrastructure, making public transport accessible for Oslo's citizens.
This project has developed Sporveien and Ruter's understanding of the importance of bringing in designers and design approaches to involve and engage stakeholders and users in co-creating the new trams.