Virtual reality stations and video call assistance: the government invests in a new innovation in transport accessibility

  • technology start-ups awarded new funding to start innovative projects that break down barriers facing disabled passengers
  • the projects will improve communication between passengers and staff, as well as tracing accessible routes

Pioneering technologies, such as virtual reality simulations of vehicles and train stations, and a travel planning application that includes video calls for help are some of the winners of government funding announced today (July 16, 2021) to improve travel experience of disabled passengers.

The technologies developed by the 5th Accessibility Transport Research and Innovation Grant (TRIG: Accessibility) The 2021 winners, announced today, will help break down the barriers faced by passengers with disabilities as we recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

He TRIG: Accessibility program, in collaboration with Connected Places Catapult (CPC), focuses on breaking down the barriers people with disabilities face when they travel, to help budding innovators and academics push their ideas to market faster.

The winning projects include a system that completely navigates with the user from the front door to their destination, taking into account special requirements and allowing passengers to make video calls directly to staff to provide assistance.

A highly realistic virtual reality simulation, which immerses users in railway stations and wagons, has also received funding to help improve staff understanding of the challenges passengers face and increase the confidence of passengers with disabilities when traveling. on the rail network.

Another project focuses on building a more reliable experience for airport passengers who need help, providing an app to improve communication with airport staff.

Accessibility Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:

These 5 innovative projects will help make our transport network more open, stress-free and easy for disabled passengers, and I am proud to invest in unique technology to improve accessibility across the UK.

We are committed to making transportation accessible to everyone and this investment, together with the Inclusive Transportation Strategy, will create a better and fairer network for the future.

The winning companies will receive almost £ 600,000 to launch these innovative projects and the trial period will be completed by the end of November 2021, which will show prototypes of work in the industry afterwards.

Nicola Yates BOTH OF US, Chief Executive Officer, Catapult Places connected, said:

It’s great to work alongside the transportation accessibility policy team to offer an expanded version TRIG program in the world of transport accessibility.

The funding that the 5 winners will receive as part of the TRIG: The accessibility program, together with the technical and commercial orientation of Catapult, will allow them to demonstrate their innovative solutions at the end of this year.

Our goal is for these solutions to allow access to England’s transport services for passengers who may need assistance when traveling to connect with the surrounding sites.

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