Creating a More Accessible Journey for Passengers

The railway network is important to everyone throughout the UK, but it’s even more important for the disabled community to get around the country quickly and efficiently.

In the UK alone, there were over 242,700 Disabled Persons Railcards (DPRCs) in circulation at the end of March 2023, according to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) data.

With the number of disabled rail users throughout the UK being a consistent and significant presence throughout the country, it’s important to make sure their journeys are as seamless and accessible as possible. Technology will be a huge factor going forward, specifically the following solutions that will revolutionise the way we look at accessible rail travel.

AI, Machine Learning, and 5G

5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are seeing continued evolution across several industries, and the rail industry could benefit from being transformed by it. A survey conducted by Analysys Mason has found that it’s expected that 5G will cover 68% of the population by the end of 2023, so we may see massive changes in the sector towards the end of the year and the start of the new year.

Combining these technologies would allow railways to build a database of large amounts of information to better individual passenger experience through personalisation. AI algorithms could analyse data from passengers to address their specific needs, which would help those with disabilities significantly.

Say there were points within a passenger’s journey that would likely make things harder, whether that’s a lack of accessibility options at the destination or certain rail services that regularly see delays. This information can be used by railways to improve journey accessibility, which could include additional staff to aid or offer spaces that are dedicated to disabled passengers.

This would work in tandem with 5G, as it would offer high-speed connectivity on trains, so you’ll always be connected. Adding inclusivity for disabled passengers makes a world of difference for them. They can then enjoy onboard entertainment while feeling reassured their journeys will be seamless.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

One solution that could revolutionise travel for not just differently-abled passengers is Mobility as a Service (MaaS). This is a huge fundamental shift in how journeys through transportation services are planned by integrating a variety of transport modes in a single platform centred around its users. This would include relevant information about trains, buses, trams, metros, and other travel like taxis and car-sharing, for passengers to plan their journeys seamlessly.

This would allow for planning the most convenient and accessible options available. MaaS solutions wouldn’t just include updates about service disruptions and arrival times but would provide the best options in real-time.

On-Board Information Systems

On-Board Information Systems (OBIS), as its name suggests, gives passengers live information on their rail journey while travelling to their destination. This ranges from scheduling changes, delays, and the platform and station you arrive in.

These systems, having features that include information about arrival locations, like accessibility options, such as working lifts, ramps available and where they are, and disabled toilets, are game-changing. Having the assurance that when they arrive at their destination, they’ll have the necessary facilities available to them adds a level of confidence to their journey.


This article was originally published by Nomad Digital.

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