Watch how the virtual world could help disabled passengers in Lancashire get better access to rail travel
Virtual reality is being used to help disabled people get improved access to rail services in Lancashire.
The first of its kind, the technology will allow Northern passengers to explore their journey and the support they require in advance, from the comfort of their own home.
Users will be able to experience trains, stations and interact with station and on-board staff in a realistic simulated environment on their phones, tablets and PCs or even in low-cost VR headsets for a fully immersive experience. They can take simulated journeys and experience the railway environment, as well as the support Northern staff will provide along the way.
Developed by lead partner Chrome Angel Solutions and digital technology experts Totem Learning, with support from Angel Trains, Community Rail Lancashire and Northern, the project won funding from the Department for Transport’s Accessibility Transport Research and Innovation Grants (TRIG: Accessibility ) programme delivered by Connected Places Catapult to develop and test a demonstration application.
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The simulation has been designed to help disabled passengers, and anyone who is anxious about travelling for any reason, to build confidence and familiarity before travelling by playing one of a range of characters with different accessibility needs and journey scenarios.
Mark Powles, commercial and customer director at Northern, said: “Our customers are the heart of everything we do, and we are dedicated to making Northern’s services accessible to everyone, and to having a positive impact for the north. “This technology is the first of its kind and has been developed alongside the independent Northern Accessibility User Group (NAUG) and supported by Northern, to empower people to use public transport – no matter their circumstances.”