Case

We built a 1:1 physical mock-up of
The Hague's new TINA tram.

Stadler TINA Tram mock-up

Bringing the design to life

We believe in using physical mock-ups as a vital part of our design process, acknowledging the diverse needs and preferences of various user groups. Through a user-centric approach, we find physical mock-ups as an irreplaceable tool for communicating our concept for user experience for the users and, in turn, gaining valuable insights from their experiences. When used in parallel with other tools such as virtual reality or high-quality visualisations, we aim to provide a comprehensive perspective on the product, addressing all aspects of user engagement.

Stadler Rail is a Swiss rail vehicle manufacturer with 80 years of experience during which it has achieved an outstanding reputation. Stadler Rail tailored their new tram model, TINA, to meet the specific requirements of public transportation in the city of The Hague and its operator, HTM. The new design prioritises increased seating capacity, panoramic windows, and, notably, eliminates the steps and thresholds.

Our goal was to bring the design to life through a 1:1 mock-up, enabling the representatives of different user groups and stakeholders to directly engage with the tangible representation of all suggested solutions. Beyond serving as a practical tool for testing accessibility, ergonomics, and functionalities, the project aimed to deliver a holistic experience by incorporating real materials, graphic elements, and brand communications directly into the mock-up. The showroom, centered around the mock-up, further enhanced the overall presentation.

Case Information

Client

Stadler Rail

Scope

  1. Product design
  2. CMF design
  3. Mechanical engineering
  4. Game engine development
  5. Virtual reality development
  6. Prototyping
  7. Hard modelling
Stadler TINA Tram mock-upStadler TINA Tram mock-up

Design for user testing

The mock-up was 22 meters long and 2.65 meters wide. It consisted of a cabin that served as a testing environment for tram drivers and a passenger compartment, including the main seating areas and space designed for wheelchair users. The mock-up also included a platform to simulate realistic situations and identify potential challenges when entering the tram. To ensure accurate testing of ergonomics across all relevant groups, meeting the standards within the mock-up was crucial.

In the mock-up design process, the primary objective was to closely simulate the tram's design, incorporating all elements, colors, and materials while optimizing it for user testing. The passenger compartment above the lower window line was left open in the mock-up for structural optimization, and also facilitating better communication and documentation during tests where the interior and exterior became shared spaces. Integrating real components into the mock-up provided the finishing touches to the design and enabled realistic testing of the crucial touchpoints.

Stadler TINA Tram mock-upStadler TINA Tram mock-up

Building philosophy

We designed the mock-up with a modular construction, allowing for the assembly of modules in our facilities in Helsinki. When the modules made their way to The Hague, the final assembly and detailing took place there. Given that the testing included all the furnishings, accessories, and functionalities relevant for tram users, such as wall-mounted seats and handrails, significant attention was dedicated to ensuring structural strength. The hidden structural grid was built out of plywood, and for each visible surface or panel type, we carefully selected materials that best simulated the intended shape of the element.

The geometry was finalised with vinyl wrapping to imitate the intended colors and the level of glossiness. Through wrapping, we also added graphic elements to incorporate the layer of brand and product communication into the mock-up.

Stadler TINA Tram mock-upStadler TINA Tram mock-up

Engaging the locals

The city of The Hague is expanding, and so is the demand for efficient and reliable transportation.

HTM aimed to evaluate the user journey and all related touchpoints across diverse user groups, including individuals working in or with the tram, as well as passengers with varying needs and disabilities. Additionally, residents of The Hague were invited to meet with the new tram. Mock-up within the showroom was built in one of the HTM sites.

Some topics, such as the placement and design of handrails, color of the flooring, and the design of a stop button, were specifically presented to visitors, showcasing all considered alternatives and gathering feedback. The insights gathered from users were documented to be integrated into the design process, and also confirming topics that could be regarded as final solutions.

Stadler TINA tran mock-up

A physical 1:1 mock-up enables proper
tangible user journey evaluation
for all user groups.

Are you interested?

Antti Mäkelä

Head of Strategy & Products,
Partner

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