"Ultra Low Floor"
A new streetcar for Vienna
The new tram in Vienna, which we designed in 1991 together with our client Siemens Transportation System, was meant to stand out with an iconic look. In our design for the “ULF” (ultra low floor) in Vienna, we aimed to develop an ergonomic tram with an innovative technical driving system which doesn’t rely on wheels connected by axles. With this revolutionary “ultra low floor” concept, we achieved a boarding height of just eleven centimetres for the entire train. This innovative, extremely low boarding height and continuously low floor is not only child-friendly and handicapped accessible, the passengers sit especially low, at eye level with the car drivers.
Among the striking design features in the exterior are the large, vertical elements which reach all the way to the street and rails. They divide the horizontally oriented train into individual segments and at the same time cover the drive elements and wheels as well as the joints necessary for the flexibility of the train. The technological innovations are thus embodied in these vertical design elements, which lend the train a very innovative, but also intuitive design. This is an important aspect, since a tram ought to be met with widespread acceptance, while also positively shaping the urban landscape. The train appears to be stable and seems to glide along the ground. Based on the corporate identity of the city of Vienna, the red stripes lend a colourful accent to the otherwise silver train.
In the interior, the look and feel of the materials is high quality. We chose a long-lasting design in order to meet sustainable and aesthetic standards for a life cycle of over 30 years. Alongside the interior, we also developed the driver’s stand according to the newest ergonomic standards and labour law guidelines. This first project with Siemens turned into a long-term cooperation and was followed by subsequent tram systems in other cities, such as Oslo and Bangkok.