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Democratizing Travel with Accessible Technology: Transreport’s Story of Inclusion in a Digital Age

disabled person in a wheelchair waiting to get on the train
publisher-image
Csilla
Marketing Specialist
May 10, 2024 • 6 min

With the 13th Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 16th fast approaching and the deadline for implementing the European Accessibility Act 2025 looming, the importance of accessibility in our increasingly digital world has become more important than ever. 

The World Health Organization estimates a staggering 1.3 billion people experience disability, from color blindness, dyslexia, temporary or permanent mobility limitations, and age-related impairments. 

Thus, in a time of digital transformation, when we rely on devices, software, and digital products for communication, education, work, and information access, accessibility isn't just a moral imperative or a compliance issue but an essential step for reaching a vast and diverse audience and fostering true inclusion. 

Luckily, a few brands and businesses are leading the charge in accessibility, and one of them is Transreport—our long-term partner and collaborator—the UK's fastest-growing accessibility technology company. 

We are honored to have been part of Transreport's design and development journey of creating the Passenger Assistance app, which earned recognition as a finalist in the ‘Inclusivity’ category at the 2023 Apple Design Awards

This article delves into the story behind this solution and how the technology provides disabled people with an additional option to request assistance in advance for a safe and comfortable experience.

 

About Transreport

Transreport is the UK's fastest-growing accessibility technology company specializing in improving customer experience using technologies like the Internet of Things. Through its suite of tools - comprising a user-facing app, a staff-facing app, and a B2B Operator Platform - Transreport offers a streamlined process for requesting travel assistance, making travel inclusive for all. 

The company's flagship product, Passenger Assistance, launched in 2021, is the world's first end-to-end transport platform for disabled and older people, enabling them to book and manage assistance when they travel. 

With over 100,000 downloads and high-profile athletes and politicians among its users, the app has been featured on the Apple App Store homepage and in numerous media outlets like Forbes, Grazia, Tech.eu, Business Traveller, and many more. Its ratings are just as impressive, averaging a solid 4.5 stars on Google Play and an outstanding 4.7 stars on the App Store. Last June, Passenger Assistance was a finalist in the ‘Inclusivity’ category at the 2023 Apple Design Awards and has become one of the most recognized technologies for arranging travel assistance, facilitating millions of passenger journeys to date. 

At the end of 2023, Transreport partnered with Hankyu for its first international deal to extend Passenger Assistance into their regional rail network in central Japan, and a month later, in January 2024, the company secured a £10M Series A funding to roll out their technology in different modes of transport and expand into new geographies.  

 

Back to the beginning: The inception of Transreport

The concept of Transreport started in 2017 after Jay Shen had an eye-opening conversation with a wheelchair user about the complexities and challenges of rail travel experiences for disabled people.

By the time the conversation ended, Jay knew he had a mission to put disabled and older passengers in charge of their journey in a way they hadn't been before. 

 

Everyone should be able to travel spontaneously and have the independence and flexibility to go where they want when they want.

 Jay Shen - Founder & CEO Transreport 

The following weekend, in his Coventry garage, Transreport's CEO, a student at Warwick University at the time, coded the prototype of the Passenger Assistance app that would simplify arranging travel assistance, making these difficult journeys more accessible and inclusive for everyone across Britain’s railways.  

Over the next few weeks, Jay presented the idea to an ‘Accessibility Panel’ of disabled users and within a month, he demonstrated the technology to decision-makers in the UK's transport industry. 

After the initial proof of concept was realized and the first steps towards the app's success were made, we were honored to become involved in Transreport's journey of democratizing travel for disabled people.

 

Transreport’s accessibility solution

Transreport’s user-friendly tech suite was co-designed with staff members from some of Britain's major rail franchises and an accessibility panel made up of people with a diverse range of accessibility needs so that it can cater to businesses and passengers alike. 

For businesses, the solution consists of a robust web platform and an intuitive Staff app available on iOS and Android that helps them streamline processes, improve data accuracy and visibility, and increase customer satisfaction. 

For passengers, the Passenger Assistance iOS and Android apps and a website were created - designed following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in consultation with disabled people - that simplifies and streamlines requesting assistance. 

The apps were launched in 2021 and have seen numerous updates and added features since then - each introduced to help make it more personal, accessible, safe, and dignified for disabled and older people. 

In the following, we'll take a closer look at Trasreport's flagship product, Passenger Assistance, its functionalities, and how it provides unparalleled support for disabled passengers.

 

The Passenger App - Passenger Assistance on iOS, Android, and Web

Passenger Assistance user-facing apps are convenient ways to request assistance support for travel and public transport across the UK. 

Accessible via a user-friendly website and a handy mobile app, the product is suitable for screen readers and can also be controlled through voiceover. Furthermore, the app's contrast, ratio, and font size comply with the highest accessibility standards.

Color Theme

From their first interaction with the app, users are met with an accessibility feature that allows them to select 1 of 4 different color themes, each designed to suit their individual access needs.

 

Profile Setup and Management 

To begin using the app, users can simply complete their profile, provide as much information as they prefer, and select their access considerations. 

Their profile caters to all their accessibility requirements, regardless of their type and nature, and allows passengers the option to provide further details about their access needs.

 

Make Booking Request 

This is one of the app's core features where users provide the details of their trip. 

In the past, securing assistance has been challenging and time-consuming for disabled people who had to call the train company in advance and spent, on average, up to 40 minutes arranging travel support. Transreport's Assistance Booking feature was specifically designed to change that and transform this process into a transparent, comfortable, and reassuring experience.

Cancel or Change Booking Request 

Users have complete control over their assistance requests and can amend them in the "My Journeys" tab. Once they make changes, they receive an email confirming the updates. The train company then reviews the changes, and upon approval, users receive another email confirming their new journey, with its status updated to "confirmed". 

Favorite Journey 

Passengers can save recurring or frequent travels as a Favorite Journey and request assistance with ease in just a few taps. 

Real-time Updates 

Throughout the journey, real-time updates on the status of booked assistance ensure users stay informed about station accessibility and more. These offer passengers the flexibility and information needed to organize journeys with confidence. 

View Travel History 

The details of previous journeys and assistance requests are collected and displayed under the “My Journeys” tab. 

Feedback 

After each assisted journey, users are prompted to rate their experience and let the staff know if they have encountered any difficulties. 

Recognizing that mobile devices present accessibility challenges for disabled individuals due to both physical impairments and affordability issues, the Passenger Assistance Web app was built with the understanding that not everyone owns or can use a smartphone. 

The web app allows users to create profiles, input their access needs, make assistance bookings for their upcoming travels, and view their current and historical journeys. To further enhance the user experience, the web app utilizes the same login credentials as the mobile app, ensuring a smooth transition between platforms. 

 

Why users love Passenger Assistance

The Passenger Assistance app has been downloaded over 100,000 times and has earned a solid 4.5-star rating on Google Play and an impressive 4.7 stars on the App Store

Here's what users are saying about their experience with the Transreport app:

 

 

 

Why we love Transreport

Seven years ago, we embarked on an incredible journey with Transreport, who created the world's first end-to-end travel platform for disabled and older people. With millions of journeys facilitated, excellent user ratings, and recognition as finalists for the 2023 Apple Design Award, it's been incredibly rewarding. 

Now, with a £10M Series A funding secured, Transreport is ready to take travel accessibility to the global stage, making train journeys an accessible, safe, and dignified experience for all.

Besides our amazing collaboration and achievements, here's why we love Transreport: 

🤝  Shared values and vision: Both Wolfpack Digital and Transreport are committed to using technology as a force for good, driving social progress, and making everyday life easier and more enjoyable for everyone. 

🎯  Innovation with Purpose: Transreport is making a tangible difference by creating a more inclusive and accessible world, enhancing users' independence, and significantly improving their quality of life. 

🎨  User-Centric Design: Transreport includes disabled people in their design process, guaranteeing that their solutions meet real needs and preferences. 

📈  Proven Product & Scalability: Transreport's platform has already changed the UK rail industry, and now, their plans to expand into aviation show their adaptability, ambition, and potential to make a difference across various sectors.

 

Conclusion 

As we look back on our long and rewarding journey alongside Transreport and the incredible impact of its technology, we want to extend an invitation for you to join us in championing inclusivity and accessibility. 

Whether you're a founder seeking to incorporate accessibility features into your product or a business aiming to promote inclusivity, we're here to lend a hand. Reach out to us at contact@wolfpack-digital.com, and let's collaborate to create a more accessible and inclusive world for all.

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