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Network Rail improve accessibility information

13th June 2019

Network Rail have recently announced that they’re working on a new idea to improve accessibility as part of the Access for All initiative. The idea is another step towards safe and easy travel for everyone, especially those who may rely on home stair lifts. A competition was held in collaboration with the technology company Hack Partners, who are comprised of innovators specialising in different industries such as graphic design and engineering. The basis of the competition was to solve problems that passengers and rail staff encounter daily.

The competition involved participants trying to solve challenges from the rail industry with the use of data such as videos, asset logs and maps. They spent three days working on solutions to the problems whilst travelling to different cities to do so.

The winning idea, as announced by Network Rail is “a publicly accessible data feed that would provide the real-time status of lifts and escalators at train stations across Britain.” Half of Network Rail’s escalators and lifts already have remote monitoring systems, so this idea hopes to implement them to greater use.

As part of the innovation, the live data feed would be available to view on popular phone apps such as Trainline, CityMapper and National Rail Enquiries. In the prototype developed by the competition winners, passengers could receive notifications on their phone if any lifts or escalators have stopped working.

The head of buildings and architecture at Network Rail says: “We knew we had lots of data on the status and condition of our lifts and escalators, but very little information. We felt it was ripe for letting the challenge loose on the data scientists, entrepreneurs and business developers at InfraHack.

“We are delighted with the solutions that were developed. They really did prove our data could be turned information to put passengers first by providing improved end to end journey information and in using big data to make better informed asset management decisions.”

The collaborative competition was part of the Access for All Programme to provide obstacle free and accessible routes to and between train platforms. Other efforts that have been made by Network Rail to improve accessibility are listed below:

  • “Lifts that are automatic and give an audible tone when the doors open and close
  • Staircases and platform edges that have tactile warning surfaces
  • New ramps and footbridges with lowered handrails
  • Open entrances and new ticket gates
  • Accessible waiting rooms and toilets.”

The programme has helped over 200 stations across the UK to become more inclusive and easier to navigate for people with low mobility. Network Rail continue to improve and expand their efforts in the hope that every passenger can travel safely and independently.

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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.