Arriva Rail London (ARL), which operates the London Overground on behalf of Transport for London (TfL), will trial an innovative solution – Luna – to help British Sign Language (BSL) users access essential information whilst travelling on the London Overground network.

The trial is in collaboration with GoMedia, a subsidiary of Icomera, a leading provider of onboard public transport ‘infotainment’. Powered by Signapse technology, GoMedia has developed Luna which translates digital information listed online into BSL and transmits it directly to the user through their smart device via a personalised digital sign language avatar. This will be trialled across five London Overground stations from July until September 2024.

There are more than 150,000 people in the UK who rely on BSL, meaning that many passengers who are deaf or have hearing loss struggle to access essential information whilst travelling. This can be particularly difficult during service disruptions, as information is often shared through audio announcements and is not always available on visual displays or signs. This initiative will benefit other customers too, for example, people who wear noise cancelling headphones when travelling due to noise sensitivity, as text and audio options are available for non-BSL users.

Project Luna uses a unique webpage, accessed by URL or QR code, which enables customers to access station and facility information, live departures and disruptions, and station announcements. QR codes will be located at Hackney Central, Hackney Downs, Hoxton, Upper Holloway and Willesden Junction.

Matthew Bromley, head of business intelligence at ARL, said: “We are committed to finding solutions which will help London Overground passengers travel independently and with ease, so it made perfect sense to trial GoMedia’s Luna solution. We hope our collaboration with GoMedia will be another step towards more accessible public transport for all.”

Roger Matthews, chief commercial officer of Icomera and GoMedia’s managing director, said: “GoMedia is delighted to deliver another innovative accessibility project through the DfT’s ‘First of a Kind’ programme, adding to a portfolio of award-winning accessibility solutions that have been proven to give passengers more autonomy and independence in how they travel.

“With GoMedia’s other accessibility solutions, Visor and HEAR now expanding across the UK transport network and being evaluated by rail operators across the globe, we envisage a future where Luna can be combined with these solutions to provide full end-to-end journey navigation and information to passengers in BSL as well as audio and text in 33 languages, demonstrating a universal solution for anyone looking for more information on their journey.”