The Department for Transport has announced the winners of RSSB’s Rail Accessibility Competition. These seven innovative, high-tech schemes will be developed to support disabled people’s access to the railway.
The Rail Accessibility Competition offers grants to any organisations or individuals whose innovative ideas will make a difference to the lives of disabled passengers travelling on the railway. The competition, which was launched in September 2017, was run by RSSB, funded by the Government, and supported by industry and disability groups.
Mark Phillips, Chief Executive of RSSB, said:
'I am delighted that the Rail Accessibility Competition run by RSSB has inspired these exciting, innovative projects.'
'These ideas will help achieve our aim of improving overall access to the railways for disabled people and contribute to a better, safer railway. We thank everybody who submitted proposals to the competition and look forward to supporting the winning projects.'
The winning projects which will receive a share of £600,000 funding are:
- 'Welcome' Aboard: a new service for people living with dementia and rail staff that provides two-way communication and a ‘check-in’ feature that alerts staff to a passenger’s arrival at the station. It combines the 'Welcome' app with Go Upstream's experiential training programme to ensure that staff are better equipped to meet the needs of people requesting assistance as well as delivering a more tailored, responsive and real-time assistance service. Lead innovator: Go Upstream, Consortia members: Neatebox Ltd, LNER, DEEP, Open Change.
- Accessibility Evaluation Survey for Stations (ACCESS): a tool to help those responsible for station accessibility to identify problems and prioritise improvements. Lead innovator: David Hitchcock Ltd; consortia member: Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education.
- Less Visible Impairments (LVIS): a study to be carried out into increasing frontline staff’s understanding about the difficulties faced by passengers with hidden disabilities, such as dementia. Lead innovator: Aston University; consortia members: Chiltern Railways Company Ltd, Focus Games Ltd.
- Rail4All: an app to help station staff prioritise requests from disabled passengers and notify the user that their request for support has been received. Lead innovator: 3Squared Ltd; consortia member: Sophie Christiansen
- Accessible Journey Pocket Assistant: a journey planner giving passengers bespoke guidance for every step of their trip. Lead innovator: Zipabout; consortia members: Great Western Railway, Community Transport Association, Rail Delivery Group, OxTrAg, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
- Nodality (navigating transport interchange): a website that provides disabled passengers, and carers with all the information they need to understand how accessible a specific station is. Lead innovator: Ethos Farm; consortia members: Accessible Travel & Leisure, Transporting Cities, Mumu Agency, EnMaas
- Signly: an app that improves communication and passenger experience for people who use sign language. Lead innovator: Signly; consortia members: Arriva Rail London, Deafax, Deafness Cognition and Language (DCAL) research centre
- Aubin: an app designed to improve rail journeys for people with autism by using stress related preferences, rather than time or cost, to help the user reach their destination. Lead innovator: Artonezero Ltd trading as JNCTION
Nusrat Ghani, Transport Accessibility Minister, said:
'I am determined to make sure that our railways are accessible to everyone, and that we remove any barriers faced by people with a disability.'
'Everyone deserves the right to travel independently and with confidence. I am delighted that these innovative projects have been picked to improve people’s journeys, and look forward to seeing how they benefit passengers in the years to come.'