Design is expression of cultural values and the philosophy of the nation.
Take public trains. In America, two rows divided by a walkway each has a series of two “bucket” seats.
Passengers usually do not see the face of the passenger in front of them, only the back of the head.
The walkway is narrow.
In Asia, two long bench style seats facing each other is common.
Passengers see the faces of each other.
The walkway is wide enough to accommodate many riders.
In America, cars are highly valued for the perceived independence they offer and status bestowed upon the driver;
trains mimic the desire for independence by creating clusters of seats.
Individualism is a common theme in American culture.
In Asia, cars are expensive and trains have proven more efficient and convenient.
East Asia has a greater emphasis on group coordination and cooperation in everyday life.
Hence the seating arrangements reflect an openness that accommodates more people and less isolation.