Deutsche Bahn’s IdeasTrainRegio

Rail travel redefined: boosting comfort and flexibility

The task

An enjoyable rail experience for passengers

For the mobility transition to be become reality, the share of people travelling by public transport needs to be increased. That said, can you imagine a train environment that is more comfortable than your own car? Well, we can. So we developed our public transport ideas in the context of Deutsche Bahn’s IdeasTrainRegio programme.

As a design partner of IdeasTrain, we created a hygiene module and a bicycle module. By providing a number of functional improvements as well as new solutions and technologies, we succeeded in creating an environment that people really feel comfortable in – for a user experience that sustainably strengthens Deutsche Bahn as a brand.


Industrial design (ID)
Innovation workshop
Usability testing
Virtual reality models


DB Regio AG


Knorr Bremse Evac Krüger Aviation

The challenges

What could enhanced travel comfort look like in practice?

How can we develop an idea that is robust enough to be quickly ready for production?

How can we integrate multiple partners from different industries into one efficient process?

At zweigrad, design, functionality and market monitoring go hand in hand, resulting in innovative products with a strong brand statement.

Britta Schröder, Marketing Evac GmbH

The steps taken

1/ User Centered Analysis
Conducting research into use, competitors and markets and identifying relevant issues.

2/ Ideation
Creative workshops brought together all those involved, and participants developed potential approaches.

3/ Creation
From the best individual ideas, we developed a coherent overall concept, which was then evaluated using 1:1 prototypes. Based on this, alternative designs were developed in an agile, iterative process, tested by users and optimised throughout – up to the final model in 3D CAD.

4/ Realisation
In close collaboration with our team, the 3D CAD data were used to implement the module in Deutsche Bahn’s IdeasTrain prototype.

The solutions

The hygiene module: a WC area aligned with hotel standards

In cooperation with Evac GmbH, the global market leader for integrated sanitary systems and part of the Knorr-Bremse Group, as well as Krüger Aviation GmbH, a pioneer in plastics manufacturing, we redesigned the sanitary facility of trains from scratch.

Our design process was focused on ease of use and utmost hygiene for passengers. For example, an entirely new toilet layout with a separate urinal as well as a washbasin located in the aisle outside allow for higher usage rates and improved cleanliness.

Materials and colours
Carefully selected, matching light materials such as wood, leather and high-quality woollen fabrics, as well as a warm lighting concept created a calm, airy atmosphere, while also paying tribute to Deutsche Bahn’s commitment to sustainability.

Touchless and digital
In alignment with the overall concept, all interactions can be carried out without getting in contact with surfaces – from opening doors to operating the WC flush, and the integrated disinfectant dispensers further add to the facility’s enhanced hygiene standards. The digitalised toilet area allows for additional operating ease and safety by providing feedback and explanations on the display integrated into the mirror.

The bicycle module: maximum flexibility and maximum comfort

For this module, we analysed time-of-day-dependent usage scenarios for the bicycle carriage of Deutsche Bahn’s regional trains and observed the different passenger groups. The aim was to attract more passengers to the train while maintaining the same level of comfort. Based on our findings, we developed a usage concept that allows Deutsche Bahn to flexibly respond to changing passenger needs: in just a few simple steps, comfortable seats can be converted into bicycle stands. Commuters and leisure travellers are thus provided with additional bicycle storage racks without Deutsche Bahn having to compromise on capacity and comfort for passenger transport.

Our sophisticated design provides passengers with orientation and guidance and thus helps prevent conflict between different user groups, which have occurred time and again in the past.

Improved communication between fellow passengers contributes to everyone’s sense of well-being during their journey, and the colours and materials chosen create a fresh design and an airy atmosphere. The durable, high-quality materials strengthen the Deutsche Bahn brand in terms of its commitment to sustainability and travel comfort.

I especially remember the ideation booster workshop hosted by zweigrad. As the workshop was well designed and based on strong methods, we swiftly came up with promising ideas. Even then you could tell that the project would turn out well.

Jan Schüth, DB Regio, Product Innovation

Presentation at Innotrans 2022



Ideation workshop with all stakeholders to generate ideas

1:1 Mock Up

Review of the concept (usability, ergonomics, function)


Colour&Style, selection of materials, surfaces and lighting


Presentation of the prototype at the Deutsche Bahn’s IdeasTrainRegio Event