Making commuting a social experience


6 weeks, Apr / May 2013, Individual Project

course: Design for Experience

Glasgow School of Art, Product Design programme

tutored by Ian Grout


Commuting is one of the most widespread forms of travel, and one that is dictated by necessity and repeated almost every day. A product of our industrialised society, having to travel between one’s home and one’s work or study place is becoming increasingly common as the relevance of large cities keeps growing. Commuting is often done with a private vehicle, but it’s also often associated with rail transport, particularly when the workplace is situated in large metropolitan areas.



Rail commuters are people who, unlike car commuters, are forced to travel together. What happens when the same people take the same train everyday, sharing the same space for many hours a week, perhaps for years on end? I conducted research in Glasgow and Milan, and got conflicting views, ranging from the commuter who regards the journey as entirely wasted time to the one that instead feels part of a community of fellow travellers.



Almost all of the interviewees identified stress as one of the main drawbacks of the commuter lifestyle. When asked what causes the stress, disruptions on the line and low quality of travel on board the trains were highlighted. In addition, many people felt like they were living a life split between the social occasions of the workplace and those of their hometowns, with the travel time as a non-social border between the two.

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