Friday, 25 August 2023

Avanti West Coast Launches Interactive Rail Map to Track Trains On The Move

Avanti West Coast has launched an interactive live rail map online to help customers track trains in real-time.

Collaborating with rail tech innovator, 'Signalbox', Avanti West Coast has introduced a map feature on its website as part of a trial that offers customers an easy way to view trains in real-time on their smartphone, tablet, or computer. 
The technology is designed to improve journeys by letting passengers access more detailed information on the West Coast services, but also allows the tracking of other trains on UK routes.

This screen capture shows the progress of an  Edinburgh to London 
Avanti West Coast service

Building on Signalbox’s existing technology - which detects, tracks, and maps trains anywhere in Great Britain - it provides an interactive tool that’s customised for passengers using the West Coast Main Line. 
Users can follow the progress of services they’re travelling on or check the status of trains near their chosen station to view information most relevant to their journey.

The map uses live data enhanced by location to enable customers to view and track local train movements, check the performance of rail services, or tap a specific train to see its calling points and status updates.

The live train map displays information in a visually engaging way – using a geographical map with icons depicting each passenger train travelling on the rail network. The icons use chevrons to indicate the direction of travel and colours illustrate the status of train’s journey.

Tapping the icon allows users to see further detail of the train’s journey – outlining the platform number and arrival times at each of its planned calling points.

The technology, which is currently being trialled, was chosen as an innovative solution following a suggestion from the station team at Carlisle that customers would benefit with a visual guide of their train’s location. After a pilot scheme on digital screens at Carlisle station, the launch of the map online aims to give more customers across the network access to the tool.

This screen capture shows the progress of a Thameslink Cambridge to Brighton service

A tailored version of the map can be used to view updates about a specific train – whether someone is keen to keep track of the arrival time of a friend, relative or colleague at their destination or a customer wants to know exactly where they are during their journey, so they can share their location. This makes it simpler to plan and manage journeys, as well as providing reassurance when travelling.

While customers already have the option to monitor the progress of their journey through functionalities, such as Live Train Status, Journey Check, and planned engineering work, which enable them to find their train’s status, check if a route is impacted by disruption, and be aware of planned engineering work on their chosen travel date, the map offers a visual alternative.

Progress of a Gatwick Airport to Reading service is shown on the site

Avanti West Coast and Signalbox are also working to make more of the content accessible for assistive technologies, including screen readers. A toggle button to further change the colour contrast of the map will also be made available to support low-vision users.

If the trial is successful, the technology could be rolled out across other Avanti West Coast digital channels.

Customers who wish to track trains on their own device can visit:

Signalbox CEO, Toby Webb, said: “It’s been great to work with Avanti West Coast to deliver a new application that incorporates the best bits of our technology to detect, map, and share trains.

“The innovation we’ve created for the trial is a new simple way for passengers to access real-time information that’s personalised for their journey. We hope this approach to delivering live data directly to travellers on the move improves the passenger experience across the network.”

David Franklin, Innovation Strategy Manager at Avanti West Coast, said: “We know how important it is to our customers to have clear and live information when travelling with us. We’re always looking to find new and better ways of doing things and are delighted to innovate with Signalbox to trial this technology.

“By providing our customers with a good visual to locate their train, we hope they’ll feel more reassured, as well as have greater confidence when travelling with access to information specific to their journey at the touch of a finger.”

Customers can share their feedback by selecting the ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ icons above the map on the Live Train Status webpage.