Paris-based designer Ora ïto has teamed up with Alstom, the French rail transport giant, to create futuristic metro trains for Marseille. Erica Jamieson reports

The new metro trains from French designer Ora ïto are scheduled to begin operations in the French coastal city of Marseille in 2024, and will have an emphasis on accessibility, safety and energy-efficiency.

Various optimisations and energy-saving technologies, including electric braking, LED lighting, and an efficient air conditioning system, will make the new trains consume 25 per cent less energy than the city’s current system.

The design follows Ora ïto’s concept of “simplexity”, and claims to be both “friendly and futuristic”.

Train carriages will feature large windows and a boxy shape to increase space and comfort for passengers.Ora Ito metro Marseille

Rather than aerodynamics, a typical focus of transportation design, designers have prioritised passenger experience and environmental impact.

“The challenge is not speed, but peaceful movement, safety and energy saving,” Ora ïto told DesignBoom.

A state-of-the-art passenger information system will also use “sound elements” imagined by French sound designer Fabien Boudier.

Each train will consist of four cars, totaling 65 metres in length. As with many modern metros, there will be no driver – instead, the system will be completely automated.

A “boa” configuration with open interior gangways will increase internal capacity, allowing trains to accommodate up to 500 people.

It remains to be seen whether continued need for social distancing in major metropolitan areas will impact the new metro design.

This will be Ora ïto and Alstom’s second collaboration. The two organisations worked together a few years ago on the Nice tramway renovation.

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