Department for Transport
Virtual reality stations and video-call assistance: government invests in new transport accessibility innovation
Budding innovators and academics awarded funding to help break down the barriers disabled people face when travelling.
- tech start-ups awarded new funding to kickstart innovative projects that break down barriers faced by disabled passengers
- projects will improve communication between passengers and staff, as well as mapping out accessible routes
Pioneering technologies including virtual reality simulations of rail vehicles and stations and a journey planning app that includes video calling for assistance are among winners of government funding announced recently (16 July 2021) to improve the travel experience for disabled passengers.
The technologies developed by the 5 Accessibility Transport Research and Innovation Grant (TRIG: Accessibility) 2021 winners, announced recently, will help break down barriers faced by disabled passengers as we build back fairer from coronavirus (COVID-19).
The TRIG: Accessibility programme, in partnership with Connected Places Catapult (CPC), is focused on knocking down the barriers that disabled people face when travelling, to help budding innovators and academics to propel their ideas to market more quickly.
Winning projects include a system that fully navigates the user from their front door to their destination, taking into account any special requirements, and allowing passengers to video call staff directly to provide support.
A highly realistic virtual reality simulation, immersing users in rail stations and carriages, has also received funding, to help improve staff understanding of the challenges faced by passengers and build the confidence of disabled passengers when travelling on the rail network.
Another project is focused on building a more reliable experience for airport passengers needing assistance, providing an app to improve communication with airport staff.
Chris Heaton-Harris Accessibility Minister recently said:
These 5 innovative projects will help make our transport network more open, stress-free and simple for disabled passengers, and I’m proud that we’re investing in unique technology to improve accessibility across the UK.
We’re committed to making transport accessible for all and this investment, along with the Inclusive Transport Strategy, will build a better, fairer network for the future.
Winning firms will receive almost £600,000 to launch these innovative projects and the trial period will be completed by the end of November 2021, with working prototypes being showcased to industry following this.
Nicola Yates OBE, CEO, Connected Places Catapult, recently said:
It is great to be working alongside the Department for Transport Accessibility Policy Team to deliver an expanded TRIG programme to the world of transport accessibility.
The funding that the 5 winners will receive as part of the TRIG: Accessibility programme, alongside technical and commercial guidance from the Catapult, will enable them to demonstrate their innovative solutions later this year.
It is our aim that these solutions will enable access to England’s transport services for passengers who may need support when travelling to connect with the places around them.
News desk enquiries
Media enquiries 020 7944 3021
Out of hours media enquiries 020 7944 4292
Switchboard 0300 330 3000
Latest News from
Department for Transport
£338 million package to further fuel active travel boom30/07/2021 16:10:00
Funding for infrastructure upgrades, changes to The Highway Code and new requirements to ensure that active travel schemes' effects are properly assessed.
'The Frying Scotsman' British-made green cars exported by train which runs on used vegetable oil30/07/2021 13:10:00
New eco-locomotive highlights the important role rail freight can play to make transport greener.
Lift off for UK spaceflight as regulations passed29/07/2021 13:10:00
Legislation provides framework enabling the UK to be the first European country to launch spacecraft and satellites from home soil.
UK travel update: government waives quarantine for arrivals fully vaccinated from Europe and USA while also confirming international cruise restart28/07/2021 16:05:00
The latest steps towards reopening international travel make it easier for people vaccinated in Europe or the USA to travel to England.
National strategy to boost accessibility for disabled passengers28/07/2021 11:20:00
Initiatives announced to remove barriers and improve confidence for disabled traveller as they return to public transport after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Road freight goes green with £20 million funding boost27/07/2021 16:10:00
Government encourages fleet operators to convert to battery-electric vehicles in the transition to zero emission road freight.
Government provides £26.2 million for Long Stratton Bypass scheme26/07/2021 13:10:00
New road will ease congestion in Long Stratton, cut noise and air pollution, and support plans for new homes and jobs in the area.
Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce meeting, 20 July 202123/07/2021 16:10:00
Joint statement on progress made by the taskforce at its meeting on 20 July 2021.