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EIT announces winners of the £1m customer experience challenge

The Enabling Innovation Team has announced the winners of funding under its Customer Experience challenge.

The winner in the discretionary traveller category was 3Squared for its Station Master mobile app, which uses indoor mapping technology to help passengers who find themselves in unfamiliar stations. It could be especially useful for tourists, who last year contributed £2.4bn to the UK rail industry, the company said.

Its prize is £50,000 of funding to develop the app, plus the chance to bid for further cash from a £700,000 pool.

James Fox, commercial director at the company, which has been developing the technology for 10 years, explained where the idea came. “We found that through our own research and findings from the National Passenger Survey, that a good proportion of discretionary rail passengers still couldn’t find their way around stations. Tourists and those with disabilities make a significant contribution to the UK rail industry and we hope that Station Master will help them to continue to support it.”

Eddie Stobart took the prize in the freight category, while the regular passenger category was scooped by ‘Commuter’, an intelligent intermodal passenger assistant.

The EIT is hosted by the RSSB and works on behalf of the Technical Strategy Leadership Group (TSLG). Its aim is to bridge the ‘innovation gap’ by giving good ideas an extra boost to get them into production or to the market.

David Clarke, director of EIT said: “Rail continues to be a very popular mode of transport for both passengers and freight customers, both of whom have high and increasing expectations of a quality experience. This competition is showing that the industry, its supply chain and innovators are ready to meet these expectations.”

For RTM’s interview with David Clarke on the role of the EIT and another major funding stream, Radical Train, click here.

The finalists for the Customer Experience challenge were:

Regular Rail Passenger Challenge

Gerrit Boehm

Recently graduated with a PhD in Design Research and Interaction Design at Middlesex University, Gerrit Boehm proposes to improve pedestrian flow and the travelling experience by using “Ambient Persuasive Guidance” to provide more comprehensive information to passengers, such as real-time updates on the availability of space in train carriages.

Mike Hughes for JEPPESEN UK Ltd. (

The Jeppesen Journey Planning Business unit is part of a worldwide subsidiary of Boeing and focuses on public transport journey planning. They offer to minimise the impact of disruption through their “Rail Journey Assistant”, a mobile app and API providing real time journey planning and multi-modal route alternatives.

Richard Stevenson for CORETHREE (

Specializing in mobile and integration IT solutions, Corethree has already worked for Southeastern trains on a real-time information app. To minimize the impact of disruption, their “Total Passenger Communications” solution would analyse how passenger sentiment is affected by quality of rail services and based on this, deliver more timely alerts to passengers and suggest alternative routes.

Pier Thomas for LETSJOIN (

Created in 2012, LetsJoin aims at enhancing passenger Wi-Fi services on public transport. Their “On-board Infotainment – Wi-Fi Channel & Internet” solution supplements current on-board Wi-Fi networks with locally stored digital content to improve the user experience.

Ben Stewart for CAUTION YOUR BLAST (CYB) Ltd. & Pascal SIMPLICE for AYOUPA Ltd. (

CYB and Ayoupa already collaborated to create the iOS app “Commuter” in 2012. Their proposal for “Commuter Intelligent Passenger” extends this app by providing information, advice and alerts on personal intermodal travel without having to plan a journey.

Daniel Winterstein for SODASH (

SoDash is a social media monitoring tool that helps rail companies listen to, measure and manage social media conversations across the web and enable them to make critical, well-informed business decision and improve their customer service levels.

Discretionary Rail Passenger Challenge

Anthony Ballardie for CAPITO SYSTEMS Ltd.(

This innovation from Capito Systems enables users to use free-form spoken language to request live information or purchase tickets, as well as bringing in additional user interaction features to simplify, optimise and personalise the mobile user experience.

John Glauert (

John Glauert, head of the Virtual Humans research group at the University of East Anglia, Executive Director of SYS Consulting and representative of the School of Computing Science at UEA, wants to improve the experience of deaf rail passengers with his ‘Seeing the Signs” solution that would deliver structured customer information in British Sign Language through 3D character animation.

Tim Jones for 3SQUARED Ltd. (

3Squared’s mobile app ‘Station Master’ takes the concept of navigation and route planning provided by popular apps such as Google Maps and applies this technology and concept to station layouts.

Steven Lloyd for CAECUS Ltd. (

Caecus is a social enterprise, which aims to develop Onsite, a system for those who are blind or visually-impaired. This system would act as ‘Electronic Braille’, providing passengers with location specific audio information and assistance, both underground and overground.


As Head of Customer Experience at Southern Railway, Emma Toms would like to improve confidence, reassurance & comfort through the “Intelligent journeys with Southern Railway” mobile app which provides real-time information about every aspect of a rail customer’s journey, with results tailored to either a line of route or specific service.

Deborah Tonroe for 4WARD THINKING

SAMi Posters combines traditional billboard posters with an interactive SAMi Card, utilising QR codes, NFC technology and SMS text so that customers can receive a portable record of the poster information directly to their internet enabled device.

Freight Rail Customer Challenge


Supported by Colas Rail Ltd., the Eddie Stobart Group wants to extent the capability of the freight network through their ‘PIGLET - Piggyback Innovative Gauge-Limited EquipmenT’ innovation. This builds upon existing piggyback wagons to make them lighter, more secure, more robust and have a top-lift capabilities.

Philip Mortimer for NEWRAIL (

A research unit of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne specialising in rail freight and logistics, NewRail’s project involves researching the feasibility of top lifting standard tri-axle semi-trailers using top lifting ISO container terminal lifting equipment.

Jochen Mundinger for ROUTERANK (

routeRANK provides a software solution for travel and freight transport planning. Incorporating road, sea and air transport data, their ‘Integrated Rail Freight Planner’ would be able to compute multi-modal shipment route options and propose real-time alternatives in the case of a disruption.

Nick Radcliffe for FREIGHTARRANGER (

FreightArranger is a unique cloud-based decision support tool that would make intermodal freight services using rail more visible and rapidly accessible, enabling modal shift and higher train fill rates.

More information at

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