Transport was seen as one of the 4 sectors causing the biggest tensions and frustrations for all ages in our pioneering In—Common research (2016). With this is mind, maybe we should look to Norway to get some tips in thinking about how to create a transport system which works better for all ages?

The Bergen Light Rail is one of the most successful town planning projects in Norway — a country where the government has taken design thinking to the heart of everything it does. By involving the many different user groups of the railway — older people, younger people, people with disabilities, people with your families and so on  — the final design of the system has made the city accessible for everyone, and passenger numbers have outstripped expected numbers. And as a direct of the light railway being so much easier to use people living in Bergen have taken the light railway to their hearts, and the motto “Gå ta banen!” or “Take the tram!” has become a catchphrase.

Bergen Light Rail has succeeded, however, primarily because it uses inclusive design in a way that is barely noticeable, other than in the fact that everyone finds the system extremely easy to use. The comfort of the trams ensures that the difficulty of using the railway is low for people who may otherwise find travelling difficult, and it opens up the system for new users who might otherwise use other means of transport. No-one is going to complain about transport which is easier to use, more comfortable, faster, more reliable and more enjoyable. Design with a real understanding of the needs of your extreme customers and you make life easier for everyone.

"What’s important with the system is to get to your destination. When users no longer have to think about timetables, they have one less thing to worry about."

Axel Sømme, architect from the Cubus architect group.

Bergen Light Railway, Norway.

The Bergen Light Rail has now achieved real social status, and has become the preferred method of transport for a large number of people — even for people who had never used the old tram. This is both positive environmentally but also societally. Many of the homes and workplaces in Bergen will become increasingly accessible for people over the coming 15 years as the tram brings together the city in a novel and progressive way.

"It has been important for us throughout to give priority to intuitive design that is relevant for everyone and not to create ideas for special target groups."

Axel Sømme, architect from the Cubus architect group.

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