As a board member of London Travelwatch, the watchdog for people who travel in London, I’m often reading and discussing issues relating to the needs of disabled people. Things have much improved in recent years though there is still a long way to go. The panacea was the support provided for disabled travellers during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. Since then, the bar has sadly come down a few notches.
So, good news today that Transport Minister Baroness Kramer has launched the ‘All on Board’ competition for students, aiming to devise new ways to make bus travel easier for people who have visual or hearing impairments. These passengers can often find it difficult to identify the number or destination of their bus, know where and when to get off or hear important on-board announcements.
The competition is being run by the government-funded organisation Transport Systems Catapult. Baroness Kramer’s aim is to tap into the creativity alive in our classrooms to find ways in which to make local transport more accessible.
Research shows that the perceived high cost of existing technology has been cited as an obstacle by bus operators in parts of the country that do not currently provide audio visual information on buses. It is hoped that the competition will deliver ideas that can be turned into cost effective systems for keeping passengers informed.
All Aboard is open to all school children aged 14 to 18, with the winning technology designer receiving a cash prize of £1000. They will also have the chance to work with local businesses and see their idea turned into a product, as well as going on a tour of the Houses of Parliament with Baroness Kramer.
If you’d like more information on the competition and how to take part, please get in touch.