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Welcome Aboard project

As part of the Department for Transport’s commitment to improving journeys for disabled rail passengers, £600,000 of funding has been dedicated to projects working on achieving this pledge. The ‘Welcome Aboard’ project aims to improve accessibility in the rail industry for people with less visible impairments. The staff of the British train operating company London North Eastern Railway (LNER) received training for the ‘Welcome Aboard’ app and were able to utilise it with passengers during trials at Waverley station.

Company – LNER

What’s the issue being addressed? 

The ‘Welcome Aboard’ project seeks to improve accessibility within the rail industry for individuals who suffer from less visible impairments; for example, dementia, autism and epilepsy. In doing so, these passengers will experience less anxiety and uncertainty when travelling through stations. This project looks to give the passenger more control by increasing personal choice and improving confidence. 

How was this solved?

Go Upstream, a company that works with people living with dementia to improve mobility services, have used insights from their work to create a framework to train rail industry staff and improve staff services. Staff workshops held in January 2019 highlighted gaps in staff knowledge of such commuters needs. The main themes identified were; awareness and location of passenger assist, station environment and consistency of language. 

The ‘Welcome Aboard’ application, designed by Neatebox, is an application which passengers with impairments download onto their phone. The application provides a service where staff receive real time journey information, assistance requirements and have two-way communication with passengers; thus, acting as a training support tool and improving customer experience. The application has been tested at a variety of locations including offices, hotels, tourist attractions and shops, making it viable to be used throughout an individual’s journey. 

What were the outcomes?

Utilisation of this application can lead to:

  • Reduction in anxiety and an increase in confidence for those who suffer from less visible impairments. The application will enable users to be receive information about delays, platform changes, bus replacement services and the service they can expect to receive. 
  • Accessibility within stations will be improved as staff will be notified when a passenger will be entering the station and their individual requirements. Furthermore, this will help to improve management of staff resources. 

Principles

Customer driven, Putting rail in reach of people, Providing an end to end journey, Being transparent 

Asset/ operations

Operations

Organisation type

Joint Venture 

Written by Sachin Kandage

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