The tour has been designed to aid journey planning and offers customers a clear view of the station ahead of travel and aims to support disabled customers in checking how accessible their journey will be.
The tour also aims to reduce anxiety for passengers as they will be able to see how they can travel from car park to platform.
People can also find out how to get to all public areas of Broxbourne station using the virtual such as toilets, customer service desk, platforms and anywhere else they may need to visit including car parks or drop off areas which will provide for easier advance journey planning.
360°Detailed photography has been used to create the station map and has captured all public spaces, allowing people to navigate them virtually, even allowing them to visit the toilet or waiting room ahead of the platform.
An interactive map has also been created using aerial photography, which shows the location of all customer facilities in relation to each other.
Great Anglia’s Accessibility Panel members are a group of disabled customers who get together on a regular basis with the rail operator and have provided feedback through the development of the tour and are thoroughly supportive of the project.
The online virtual tour is web-based and has an autopilot or manual option for navigating the station alongside an interactive map which allows a view of the full station layout including ‘hot spot’ links to specific locations within the station. An aerial view also displays the car park, cycle parking, bus stop and taxi rank/drop off point.
Key features like the textured paving on platform edges (tactile paving), assisted travel meeting points and toilets, as well as individual platforms, can also be navigated via a drop-down menu.
The autopilot feature also provides users with the choice of selecting their destination location within the station and will be automatically guided to it or by clicking if preferred.
The Virtual Tour company has provided the technology with the tour software being specially designed to be accessible.
The tour features a spoken scene guide with closed captions on the home page at the station entrance and also includes an accessibility widget that allows users to select high contrast, large font size or audio transcribe. In the future, it is hoped to incorporate British Sign Language videos as part of Greater Anglia’s bid to improve customer information.
The tours are available to view on any device with more stations set to be added in the future.
To find the tours, please visit: https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel-information/your-journey/virtual-tours
Greater Anglia’s Accessibility Manager, Rebecca Richardson, said,
“The idea was to create a tool for customers to assist them with their journey planning and reduce the anxiety about whether the station would create any accessibility barriers. We want to give people who may not have travelled by rail for a while or maybe not at all, to do so with confidence.
“We are committed to making rail more accessible and providing quality information to enable more informed journey planning.
Neil Henderson, Managing Director of Virtual Tour Experts, said,
“We’ve really enjoyed working on this project to create a number of industry firsts. The world of VR is developing fast but until now that development has not given due consideration to online accessibility.
“This tour is the World’s first to incorporate an accessibility widget, guided tours, subtitled scene guides and there is much more to come. The user-first attitude of the team at Greater Anglia provided the perfect base for development and will ensure the platform continues to evolve.”
Greater Anglia is creating 360° virtual tours at ten of its busiest stations with tours with Bishop’s Stortford, Cambridge, Colchester, Norwich, Shenfield and Stansted Airport stations available now and Chelmsford, Ipswich and Southend Victoria set to follow.