Virgin Trains and RNIB install tactile station maps for visually impaired travellers
28 April 2016 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review
Virgin Trains and the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) have worked together to create tactile station maps for visually impaired travellers on the east coast route between Berwick and Peterborough.
Eleven new tactile station maps which can be read by touch or sight, can be used by blind and partially sighted train travellers to navigate around Virgin Trains operated stations on the east coast route. Ten stations, including, Berwick, Peterborough, Retford, Newark Northgate, Grantham, Darlington, Wakefield Westgate, Doncaster and Durham already have the maps installed while Newcastle will follow shortly.
Tactile station maps provide key information such as the location of platforms, toilets, shops and cafes
The maps provide key information such as the location of platforms, toilets, shops and cafes by using a mix of raised large print, Braille and tactile symbols. They are located close to the station entrances to help travellers with sight loss prepare for their journey more easily.
One quarter of blind and partially sighted people said they were not able to travel by train as much as they would like
Almost two million people in the UK are living with sight loss and it is predicted that this number will nearly double by 2050. According to RNIB’s recent My Voice research, one quarter of blind and partially sighted people said they were not able to travel by train as much as they would like.
Kawal Gucukoglu, RNIB Transcription Executive, is registered blind herself and was on hand this week to test out the Peterborough map. She said: “I like the fact it’s a map for everyone – there’s not a separate one for people with and without sight loss. It’s very clear to use with good Braille and print lettering. Tactile maps are a great idea and will come in useful for loads of travellers.”
“We will continue to work with industry to look at other ways in which people living with sight loss can travel with greater confidence and independence”
Neil Heslop, Managing Director, RNIB Solutions, added: “We’re pleased to have worked with Virgin Trains in finding an effective solution to make the stations they manage more accessible for people living with sight loss. We will continue to work with industry to look at other ways in which people living with sight loss can travel with greater confidence and independence.”
Debbie Ambler, Virgin Trains Programme Delivery Manager, said: “We are committed to working with partners like RNIB to find new ways to make journeys more accessible and enjoyable for all our customers. The tactile maps at stations across our network allow blind and partially sighted customers freedom and independence when travelling. Both at stations and on board our trains, we encourage our people to go the extra mile to offer brilliant service to all our customers. We also have a dedicated team that disabled customers and their friends and family can contact in advance to plan for their journey.”