Shanghai Railway Station


In May 2015 during one week, we did a study for the Shanghai
Railway Station with the aim to find the pain points of the station, and
propose them some guidelines of reflexion with some starting concepts.

Project done with Alice Lairy, Iris Hauck and Pierre-Olivier Rouquette.

Discovering the Station


Every year, Shanghai train station welcomes hundreds of millions of passengers with several hundreds of train arrivals and departures. It is faced with a growing number of travelers especially at some period of the year: for new year celebrations millions of people return to their home town to spend some time with their families. The station reaches the top of its capacity and it becomes so crowded that people are squashed like sardines. 

Observing the Station


When we arrived on the spot, we were struck by several things, but we have decided to focus on three mains. The first one is the station's forecourts, second is how people behave their, and how the station communicate for its travellers.


Empty spaces

On each side of the station, there is a forecourt to accommodate every traveller. It is a big open space not really used by the station: no bench or other urban pieces of furniture the only we have seen, were outside the two forecourts. Travellers wait there randomly, sitting on their own luggage.


Travellers's behaviour

People are waiting for their train most of the time in front of each station entrance, or on the forecourt, sitting close to their huge bags preventing them to easily move around the station, and because they have to keep an eye on them. However, some of them have little trolleys and carry their luggage on them. The station does not provide any trolley, as the ones that can be see at airports. Other travellers are sitting where they can, on the closest urban furnitures: police's barriers, low walls...


Lack of information

Besides not being able to speak Chinese it is a real drag to cross the station from the North to the South side. It is impossible to enter the station without any ticket you have to find the right underground way mixing between the various commercial galleries and the subway corridors. The railway station has got very few signs to indicate the different entrances. It took us around about 45 minutes to understand how we could cross it.

Our proposals


At the end of our workshop we made a poster summarizing what we observed during the week, and on which matter the Railway Station could improve itself, with early projects. Besides these insights, we also kept in mind the main problem of the station: the increasing travellers according to the period of the year. We based our proposals on the idea of a Responsive Station.


Responsive Furniture

Cette étude étant prospective, nous ne sommes pas limités créativement et techniquement parlant. Les Responsives Furnitures seraient du mobilier urbain reparti sur les surfaces vides de la station (forecourt north and south). En fonction du moment de l'année et de l'affluence, la station pourra faire sortir du sol ce mobilier urbain, ou bien le ranger lors du Nouvel An Chinois, où comme nous avons pu voir la gare déborde de voyageur et a besoin d'espace pour les accueillir. Ce mobilier connecté serait équipé d'écran permettant de relayer aux voyageurs des informations pratiques sur la gare.


Safe Trolley

The idea is to give train travelers the same luggage service as that given them at airports where luggage is checked in and looked after from the start which saves the hassle of worrying about keeping an eye on all luggage items or wether one of them is missing. The aim is to provide the quality of the airport's user experience. Trolleys equipped with a locking system and a seat would enable travelers to put there bags in a safe place and have a rest near them. A RFID chip would be also integrated to allow the station be aware of how many people are in the station and let it anticipate situation, and act accordingly.


The Poster

Here is the final poster we made to sum up what we observed during the week, and our propositions.