South Western Railway trials new technology to help visually impaired people navigate stations

A major rail operator has launched a trial of new technology at two south west London stations to help visually impaired people get around more easily.

South Western Railway (SWR) is trying the myEyes app at Vauxhall and Putney stations, which gives audio directions to help the user navigate the area and find their platform.

It uses Near Field Technology – the same tech used for phone contactless payments – along with Bluetooth beacons to locate the user and give them directions.

Mike Adlington, SWR’s accessibility manager, said: “Unfortunately, it is the case that many people still feel that the railway is too difficult to negotiate with a disability – whether visible or invisible.

“At SWR, we’re absolutely determined to change this and make rail travel more accessible for all.

“The roll-out of this new, cutting-edge technology trial marks a step change in the assistance available to those with sight loss and is one example of how we’re working to make our network easier for everyone to use.”

Labour MP for Battersea Marsha de Cordova, who is visually impaired, made SWR’s accessibility team aware of the technology.

She said: “I appreciated how quickly SWR acted on my request and that they recognised the value in ensuring that their train stations are fully accessible and inclusive for all users. Investment to improve access also boosts economic growth in our local economy.

“I know this app could transform travelling for blind and partially sighted people, as ultimately, travelling and navigating around the city is probably one of the biggest challenges that we face.”

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