Yurikamome 2

There’s something about being on public transport that seems to bring out the worst in us. Whether we’re talking on our phones, bringing smelly food onboard, or taking sly swigs of chūhai when we think no one’s looking, most of us are guilty of some kind of train faux pas.

A company in Japan has come up with an ingenious design solution to a very particular kind of anti-social behaviourpeople taking up more than their fair share of space on the train.

Last year, the Association of Japanese Private Railways asked passengers what kind of behaviour bothered them on trains. “The way people sit in seats” was highlighted as a major concern, second only to “people talking in a loud voice, messing about, etc”. And it’s not your posture the respondents are worried about: Japan’s commuter trains are exceptionally crowded, and people sitting with their legs stretched out into the aisle space are depriving others of valuable standing room.

▼ I’m talking about you, sir.


Bosses at Yurikamome, the fully automated, driverless train system that carries 110,000 passengers daily across Tokyo Bay, had been faced with complaints about people putting their feet on seats, or blocking the aisle with outstretched legs. Their newest train, the Yurikamome 7300, was specifically designed to prevent this kind of anti-social behaviour.

Let’s take a look at the interior of the 7300. Can you spot the clever new design feature? It might not be so obvious at first.


The new seats, designed by Mitsubishi, have been angled upwards nine degrees so that when a passenger sits in them, their legs naturally tuck in close to the front of the seat, meaning that those trying to lean back and stretch their legs out will soon find themselves with hardly any seat beneath their cheeks. It’s an almost imperceptible change, but Yurikamome say it has already had a radical impact.

Since the new carriages started rolling out at the beginning of this year, they haven’t received a single complaint from passengers travelling in the updated trains.

The best design, after all, is design we don’t even notice.

Source: Asahi Shinbun
Images: Mentakinguptoomuchspaceonthetrain, Yurikamome (1, 2)
Featured image: Yurikamome