RoomMate
Network Rail’s new RoomMate innovation provides dignity and independence to those with sight impairments.

Stations managed by Network Rail in South London are offering two new services to make the railway more inclusive, which will benefit passengers who use British Sign Language to help them keep up-to-date with station announcements, as well as blind and visually impaired passengers using station toilet facilities.

The first innovation, SignLive, is an around-the-clock sign language interpretation service that will enable deaf or hearing-impaired passengers to keep up-to-date with station announcements and safety information, no matter the time of day.

Passengers can connect to an interpreter via a video call who will then communicate announcements or enable a three-way conversation to take place with a third party, such as a station colleague.

Once a passenger has signed up free of charge, they can use SignLive to communicate easily and without barriers. Usually, the connection time is less than a minute, so the process is as smooth as possible.

Advertisement | Continue story below

The second innovation, RoomMate, is an electronic, wall mounted device that provides blind and visually impaired passengers with a bespoke audio description in an accessible toilet, providing dignity and independence to those with sight impairments.

Upon entry into the accessible toilet, the RoomMate device asks whether the user would like audio navigation. The user is then guided to the unit beside the door catch, by four sonic pings and asked to wave their hand over the front sensor if they wish to continue.

RoomMate then guides them through options such as the location of the toilet, flush and hand basin to help them use the toilet safely and independently. Included in the greeting is an important public health message: “Please, always remember to wash your hands.”

The facilities are available at the following stations: Clapham Junction, Guildford, London Bridge, London Cannon Street, London Charing Cross, London Victoria and London Waterloo.

Lucy McAuliffe, Network Rail stations director, Southern region, said: “I’m delighted to introduce SignLive and RoomMate to all Southern region managed stations. Our organisation is committed to making stations open and accessible to all passengers.

“As more passengers return to the railway, coinciding with the lifting of lockdown restrictions, it’s essential we provide services that remove barriers to travel so that everyone feels welcome in our stations.”

Paul Lennon, Network Rail project manager, Customer Experience team, added: “Stations are the main point of contact for passengers and that is the time when deaf people like me want and need communication.

“In the past, I have missed station announcements like platform changes when travelling, so I suggested this as a way to help minimise frustrating things like this happening.

“SignLive will enable station colleagues to give good customer service to deaf passengers if they need assistance.”

Reviews undertaken by the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) and disability charity the Shaw Trust has confirmed that train and station operators are improving the provision of information they provide for disabled travellers, although there is still some way to go, with several train operators failing to meet targets to make trains full accessible.

 

THIIS ROUND-UP
Join the 2,500+ mobility professionals who stay informed with THIIS' twice-weekly industry updates.
We respect your privacy
https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/RoomMate.jpg?fit=900%2C675&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/RoomMate.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Liane McIvorNewsroomSupplier NewsTrade Newsaccessible,inclusive,London,Network Rail,RoomMate,Services,SignLiveStations managed by Network Rail in South London are offering two new services to make the railway more inclusive, which will benefit passengers who use British Sign Language to help them keep up-to-date with station announcements, as well as blind and visually impaired passengers using station toilet facilities. The first...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals