May 29, 2024

Rail gets Real

Real Time Dashboard is a new communications platform that gives rail passengers detailed information on their journey. Neal Baldwin reports

A new communication platform aimed at improving the passenger experience for rail travellers is undergoing its first trial with a UK train operator.

Dubbed ‘Real Time Dashboard’, the system allows passengers to find out every detail about their journey, from constantly updated timetabling to facts about station facilities.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the moving maps on airline IFE are popular with travellers,” says Edmund Caldecott, creator. “I realised it is all about reducing stress. When people travel, they want to know where they are and how they are progressing.”

Easy access

Rail passengers use their smartphone to scan a QR code located on their seat to access the system. This leads to a unique travel dashboard, personalised to the service they are on.A moving map of the route shows users how the train is progressing, how many minutes it will be to the next stop and forecast arrival time at its final destination. This information is constantly updated from the rail network’s own feed.

In addition, users can click on any station to find out all the facts about its facilities. “For onward journey planning, users can see live departure information for each platform or find out or where the bus stops are outside with timetables,” Caldecott explains. “If their station is in London and has a tube interchange,  they can access real-time information on how the services are running.”

Added value

The system also allows instant two-way communication between passenger and the train operator, meaning an end to frustration caused by delays or faulty onboard services.

“‘Users can report problems via the RTI dashboard. It’s great for the train operator – it is collecting valuable information so it can try to fix the problem, and it could also send a voucher to the customer by way of apology.”

Ultimately, the technology aims to sign up third-party partners across the country with its open API, giving travellers options for things like visitor attractions, theatres and restaurants on their route.