Giving voice to high-tech signs to help visually-impaired passengers

Publish Date: 
Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 11:45

Visually-impaired bus passengers can now get the full benefit from new, recently-installed Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) displays, thanks to the provision of audio key fobs.

A total of £900,000 from the Crawley Growth Programme has been used to replace older displays which had no audio.

An extra 66 RTPI displays have also been installed at bus stops in Crawley, bringing the total in the town with audio capability to 134.

Now, a number of Royal National Institute of Blind People approved key fobs are being distributed to visually-impaired people so that, with the click of a button, they can activate an audio message announcing the information shown on the displays.

Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council Lead Cabinet Member for the Crawley Growth Programme, said: “The Crawley Growth Programme is an investment totalling in excess of £60million and this project is a superb example of how it’s helping both residents and visitors to the town.

"The RTPI displays are a big improvement for bus passengers and it’s good news that visually-impaired passengers can now benefit from the real-time information too, thanks to the key fobs.”

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council, said: “The newly-installed RTPI displays are making a big difference to bus passengers across the town, providing them with up-to-date travel information.

“I’m delighted that the introduction of the audio fobs ensures that visually-impaired passengers are able to access this information as well. This is a fantastic Crawley Growth Programme project.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said: “These upgrades will be crucial in improving the accessibility of the transport network and will greatly benefit the residents and visitors of Crawley. This is a great example of an innovative way to improve the infrastructure of the region and we look forward to seeing future developments of the wider programme as they arise.”

The Crawley Growth Programme is being delivered by a major partnership of public and private organisations, including the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, West Sussex County Council, Crawley Borough Council, Metrobus, Gatwick Airport Limited, Manor Royal Business Improvement District (BID) Company, the Arora Group, Gatwick Diamond Initiative and Crawley Town Centre Partnership.

Picture caption

Key facts explained: (from left, back row) Liz Robbins, County Council Team Leader, Intelligent Transport Systems and Traffic Monitoring, gave a demonstration of the audio key fobs at Crawley bus station, and is pictured with Stephen Hillier, County Council Lead Cabinet Member for the Crawley Growth Programme, Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council, and (front) Crawley Town Access Group members Kieran McKenna, Barry Tyndale and Chris Cheshire, who is also a Crawley borough councillor.

Notes for Editors:

Bus operators have equipment that tracks where their buses are using the Global Positioning System (GPS). The location data is then fed to West Sussex County Council’s Real Time Passenger Information system.

The actual location of the bus is compared to where it is scheduled to be and the predicted time of arrival is calculated. This information is then shown on the displays.