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Innovation: station way finding

Personalised Accessibility and Wayfinding at Stations (PAWS) project with DW Windsor, the DfT, InnovateUK, FirstGroup, The University of Nottingham and the RSSB.

The challenge

Passenger experience is a key parameter for train operating companies managing railway stations. One of the moments of truth is how passengers needing help to access trains are being taken care of. A consortium consisting of Urban Control, DW Windsor, the DfT, InnovateUK, FirstGroup, The University of Nottingham and the RSSB, embarked on a study to investigate how access to special provisions could be improved.

Proof of concept

The first step was to identify and categorize the type of passenger needs the solutions should address. The work group settled on two main categories : travellers needing direction to a path appropriate for their needs and travellers needing personalised help with a member of staff.

The former included travellers with heavy luggage and travellers with bicycles, the latter included travellers with reduced mobility.

The concept was then born that we would seek to identify such travellers before they reach the ticket barrier and trigger the appropriate intervention.

Implementation project

For the detection of travellers needing help, Urban Control decided to use a video-based solution and went through a partner selection process to find a camera with embarked intelligence that provides pattern recognition with an Artificial Intelligence algorithm.

To match the detection, Urban Control has devised two different interventions. The first one alerts station staff that a traveller needing personalised support is approaching the ticket barrier so that a member of staff is ready to help the traveller and ensure a smooth experience finding their way to the train service they want to board.

The second puts in plays Urban Control’s skills in dynamic lighting using an array of projectors equipped with GoBo filters displaying arrows on the platform so that the travellers find their way to the lift if they are pushing their luggage on a trolley or travelling with a bicycle.

The project named Personalised Accessibility and Wayfinding at Stations (PAWS) was set up thanks to First Group at Chippenham Railway station.

Urban Control installed the projectors and three cameras for detection at different points of access to the platform.


The camera provided an excellent detection accuracy of about 90% and station staff received notification on a wearable device when appropriate.

The dynamic lighting-based directions provided good results in line with the encouraging results from the Dynamic Platform Guidance project.

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