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Revolutionizing the user experience at SNCB Stations



Imagine stepping into a train station that hasn't been built yet – a fully interactive, virtual world where you can navigate, spot issues, and perfect the experience before a single brick is laid. This is the power of digital twins, a cutting-edge technology transforming how we design and optimize public spaces.


The Belgian National Railway Company (SNCB) is embracing this innovation by creating digital twins of generic train stations. It's like having a virtual sandbox to experiment with layouts, signage, accessibility features, and crowd flow. Designers can simulate how passengers with diverse needs, from families with strollers to individuals with limited mobility, interact with the environment.



By testing the user journey in this digital realm, potential pain points are exposed early. This allows for adjustments that ensure a smooth, intuitive, and frustration-free experience for everyone the moment the real station opens its doors.


The project is based on the I-Rail API, which gives access to a great deal of information in real time. This was used as the basis for reading the traffic data and linking it to the digital twin of the virtual station. Trains are generated in a virtual tunnel that is perfectly synchronised with the SNCB's real-life operations: if a train has 8 carriages, the twin will also have 8 carriages; if the train is late, the twin will also be late.


This data-driven approach fosters collaboration, as experts across disciplines can test scenarios and refine the design for optimal passenger satisfaction. Ultimately, digital twins are ushering in an era of highly user-centric stations, where efficiency and comfort reign supreme.


The future of travel starts with these virtual replicas, promising a seamless and welcoming experience for all SNCB passengers.



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