The Department for Transport (DfT) have announced £3.6 million in funding to companies who will work on 10 projects to transform travel on the country’s railways.
The investment, which is just a small part of the government’s significant funding to improve the railways, will focus on how technology can improve passenger experience on the UK’s railways.
Jo Johnson, Rail Minister, said the funding will deliver “high value innovations” at a faster pace.
“While we have introduced real time platform information, taken big strides on safety and improved how we manage our railways to accommodate more services on existing tracks, the pace of change can sometimes be slower than we would like to see.
“The funding is part of a wider programme of activities to speed up the delivery of new ideas and high value innovations, which can have a big impact on passengers’ journeys.”
This £3.6 million funding came about through a competition run by Innovate UK, which is part of the DfT’s scheme to improve the experience of passengers on the railways.
All 10 projects will show how technologies can improve passenger experience, and will ensure these are developed and demonstrated.
The projects include a design for train carriages that will increase peak hours seat numbers; a carriage design that can seamlessly switch from carrying passengers to goods; technology that gives disabled passengers the chance to seek out real time assistance on their journeys; beacons to guide visually-impaired passengers to their seat; and augmented reality applications that show a journey’s landmarks.
Much has been written about Network Rail’s investment to improve the railways on which trains operate, but there is also a concerted effort to ensure that passenger experience is enhanced.
Jo Johnson added: “We are investing in the biggest rail modernisation programme since Victorian times, introducing the changes that passengers want to see – more frequent services and quicker, more comfortable journeys.”