NEWS14 December 2023

Signapse Transform Rail Travel Accessibility

Signapse team members

SETsquared Surrey member Signapse, has today announced a new initiative utilising AI to deliver real-time transport information in British Sign Language (BSL) across railways stations and trains

Funded by the Department for Transport’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), it aims to significantly enhance accessibility and safety for the 87,000 deaf members of the British Deaf Community.

The “First of a Kind” project sees Signapse collaborating with Network Rail, South Western Railway and Whoosh Media to integrate advanced natural language processing and computer vision techniques that will translate travel announcements instantly into sign language. This covers vital details related to 2,400 train stations nationwide – including departures, arrivals, delays, cancellations as well as critical safety notifications both on trains and on station platforms.

Deaf passengers will be able to access sign language translations on demand through mobile devices. This portable accessibility enables independence in navigating journeys while ensuring communication equality. It marks the first rollout of such immersive, inclusive technology across UK-wide rail infrastructure.

As Sally Chalk, CEO of Signapse explains, “We have an opportunity through AI innovation to build a future where barriers to communication are dismantled. Real-time sign language integration truly empowers deaf individuals with the information they need when travelling while boosting confidence, safety and accessibility for all.”

Signapse’s Deaf Leadership Chair, Craig Crowley MBE added “Certainly this is going to be an exciting game-changer for the deaf community in terms of real-time accessibility, inclusion and the opportunity to travel safely wherever we go.”

Edmund Caldecott, founder of Whoosh Media said, “We’re over the moon to be working with Signapse on this brilliant project. Accessibility is at the heart of what we do. Making real time information available to all passengers via British Sign Language is a great mission and we’re really pleased to be working alongside Signapse to deliver this essential functionality.”

For more details about Signapse, do visit their website.