Helping to Digitize the Train Platform
Creating a new roadmap for LNER’s Rail Future
- Travel en Hospitality
- Digital Platforms
Get to Know LNER
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is a British train operating company providing long-distance inter-city services on the East Coast Main Line from London King's Cross to Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland.
LNER intends to become an industry leader in digital experience to drive market share and revenue growth. Having identified an ambitious and wide-ranging program, LNER sought a partner that could help them on that journey and, importantly, challenge them to go further in embracing digital. Valtech was happy to help.
Selecting a Digital Partner
To help bring their digital transformation goals to life, LNER needed a partner who understood digital transformation and the work needed to change more than just platforms, but to help shift the thinking of an entire organization to meet the challenges of the present and the future.
Valtech’s experience in providing this very type of digital transformation for other clients was crucial in the decision-making process, but equally important was our past work with other travel companies. Because LNER was looking for someone to push and to challenge them, they also saw a great value in Valtech’s ability to bring in perspectives from industries outside of Rail as well. LNER didn’t want to limit their thinking based on what’s possible and popular in the Rail industry, so they selected a partner with a history in aviation and Travel & Hospitality as a whole.
Collaboration in the Age of Covid
Whether creating a roadmap for the future, or designing a platform for the present, Valtech’s guiding principle is to always keep the user at the center of everything we do. This isn’t just a slogan; we actively seek out input from end users and design systems to meet specific needs. For LNER, this process was complicated by the onset of Covid.
The first major challenge was that as we started our first sprint, the UK entered lockdown. We took this inconvenience and turned it into a benefit by recruiting staff from across the company to work with us using digital tools including Teams sessions and Miro to collaborate and visualise ideas. Lockdown created opportunities to reach out to people at all levels, and as everyone got more comfortable with WFH, they were happy to participate and expressed their enthusiasm about being consulted and included in a project they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to work on.
We tapped into the design expertise in Valtech to help develop the new ideas. We played back the learnings from the research in each design session and selected target groups to consider, such as family groups, first time train users, people who normally fly or take their car. We thought about what would make a real difference for these groups, how we could make their lives easier, and the path towards the new more digital version of travel and the station of the future.
Conducting User Research
We showed users a series of design sketches and asked them to consider how the new technology could help them travel. Many of the ideas were seen as too farfetched, but as expected some ideas emerged as winners because they made travel easier and more accessible. Working in a digital combined workspace allowed us to make notes using different colours to track a single person’s comments but otherwise removing any personally identifiable information and still retain the findings
Results Used to Enhance LNER’s Roadmap
In the research, we heard that people would like to learn more about how to manage their carbon footprint. We learned about their views on future options about journey planning, as well as their preferences at the station. User feedback encompassing everything from more Eco-friendly trip options, to fully planned door-to-door trips, to contactless ticketing and the ability to order and pay for food items before the trip was taken into consideration in new plan we helped LNER create for the future.
Valtech’s history in related industries, and our ability to center the end user in everything we do helped earn us the opportunity to help LNER on this exciting project. But what made this partnership a success was our ability and willingness to challenge them to go further and to deliver their customers what they want instead of delivering the solution stakeholders think are needed. By tapping into our resources all around the world and utilizing the digital technology that exists, we were able to help bring LNER’s vision for the future of rail travel to life.