Transport for Wales (TfW) is trialling a new onboard digital service that provides personalised journey information announcements for passengers with hearing loss.
The Hearing Enhanced Audio Relay (HEAR) application has been tested on TfW trains for the past two months, enabling passengers connected to the onboard Wi-Fi to receive announcements to their smart devices in real-time.
A spokesperson for Transport for Wales told capitaltribunenews.com that the operator is “working with the developers regarding next steps” and that the project is “still at the trial stage”.
Notifications can be specifically tailored to passengers’ preferences – for example, only informing them of announcements relating to their destination, in both audible and readable formats.
Tech firm GoMedia developed the initiative with support from charities Hearing Link and Hearing Dogs.
Roger Matthews, GoMedia’s Managing Director, said: “HEAR offers a more versatile and cost-efficient solution to installing expensive hearing loops on trains.
“The benefits of the solution also extend beyond improving accessibility for passengers with hearing loss – the app itself is customisable, supports multiple languages, and can give passengers an overview of previously made announcements and delay information updates, making it a useful tool for all passengers.”
The project was funded by the UK’s Department for Transport through its £9 million (US$11.3 million) ‘First of a Kind 2021’ competition, delivered by Innovate UK.
“We are committed to making our network as accessible as possible,” said Michael Davies, Insight and Innovation Manager at Transport for Wales.
“Working with GoMedia on HEAR has given us the opportunity to test a solution that could provide huge benefits to customers and encourage people to choose rail.”
It is estimated one in six people in the UK adult population is affected by hearing loss, and by 2031, 14.5 million people – approximately 20 percent of the UK population – will suffer from some form of hearing loss.
The post App trialled to improve journeys for passengers with hearing loss appeared first on capitaltribunenews.com.