Amy Killen

Designing the urban rail environment to reduce vandalism.

PhD candidate

  • Amy Killen



  • Brendan Connors
    Metro Trains Melbourne

Funded by

  • Metro Trains Melbourne

The project’s outcomes demonstrate how the proactive redesign of vandalism-affected assets can assist operators in developing more targeted, proactive and effective solutions.

Amy Killen

Through the research project, it was found that vandalism affecting the windscreen causes the greatest operational impact to rail services and it was, therefore, hypothesised that the introduction of suitable design interventions would assist in reducing this impact. Such interventions needed to consider the context in which the windscreen sits, that is, the driver’s cabin, and how components within this area might assist in restricting access to the windscreen while also protecting the driver’s ability to safely operate the train.

The design approach utilised the novel application of linking rail assets, users and operators through both physical and system-based interventions.

The physical design outcomes can be observed as including both immediate, retrofitted interventions as well as future-focused redesign solutions for the X’Trapolis fleet.

Ultimately, developing the retrofitted interventions provided greater value to Metro Trains Melbourne (the project’s sponsor) when considering ease of implementation. These design outcomes included both a coupler and windscreen wiper cowl, as demonstrated in the imagery included. The coupler cowl’s geometry is designed to reduce access to the windscreen while its weight-activated sensors detect and alert operators to the presence of vandals. Secondly, the windscreen wiper cowl was designed to eliminate grip opportunities through the inclusion of a remote-activated retractable cover.