UK: The Rail Safety & Standards Board has called for a more scientific approach to measuring train seat comfort, with the aim of developing specifications which manufacturers could use alongside requirements for crashworthiness and fire safety. This would take into account factors including shape, cushioning, material choice, lumbar support, vibration, legroom and the length of the journey.

‘There simply aren’t any reliable industry-approved measures to quantify passenger train seat comfort’, said RSSB’s Senior Human Factors Specialist, Jordan Smith, on February 21. ‘The rail industry wants us to challenge that, by exploring the potential of a new specification which takes full account of the complexity of the human factors involved, and allows owners, suppliers and government procurement teams to efficiently specify and deliver seating in line with passenger comfort.’

Stressing that the call was not a response to passenger criticism of the seats which are fitted to Govia Thameslink Railway’s Siemens Class 700 electric multiple-units which were specified and procured by the Department for Transport, RSSB pointed out that it was already managing the Defining the requirements of a seat comfort selection process research project on behalf of the Vehicle-Vehicle Systems Interface Committee and the Seat Comfort Group.