Our recent research study highlighted the different accessibility barriers in rail travel. Today, we want to take a look at how good the rail industry is when it comes to accessible travel, looking at railways' best practice examples and how technology can enable a more accessible travel experience.
Europe is leading accessible travel
Most European railways are leading the way when it comes to accessible travel. Offering door-to-door services and onsite assistance is part of their services.
For example, in Germany, since 1999 Deutsche Bahn’s Mobility Service Centre has been supporting passengers throughout the whole planning of their rail journey. Currently, 3,825 stations are accessible and barrier-free.
In Spain, Renfe's Atendo offers free passengers guidance As well as assistance for getting on and off the trains and to passengers in transit.
In terms of reservation and ticketing, in Belgium, B-FOR YOU SERVICE offers free personalized assistance and different fares to travel free of charge or with a discount depending on the accessibility needs. For example, companions can travel free of charge with the free carer card.
Technology: the answer to accessibility
In Sweden, our customer SJ is leading the way! Besides offering assistance throughout the journey, as well as special seats to make the journey easier, SJ has recently launched an Augmented Reality test app that could potentially solve station navigation for passengers with accessibility needs.
On the other hand, the UK Government has recently funded seven accessibility projects with £600,000. It includes innovations in making accessible travel, from a website that informs passengers about how accessible a railway station is, to an app that improves communication and passenger experience for people who use sign language.
As a conclusion, technology is a great enabler to guarantee an accessible experience for every traveler.