TOC Ability is a collaborative innovation initiative to enhance accessibility to rail services. Organisations across the academic, private and public sectors, are assisting in the development of an intelligent accessibility hub that will exchange real-time information between passengers, Train Operating Companies (TOCs) and service providers’ systems.
TOC Ability is being co-designed by an ‘accessibility panel’, made up of disabled people with a range of impairments, ensuring an improved door-to-door travel experience for all passengers is central to delivery of an efficient nationwide rail network.
Vidar Hjardeng, MBE, has spent over thirty years with ITV, running Political and Social Action Programmes and more recently leading on Diversity. He’s an Associate of the Business Disability Forum, Board member of the RNIB, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Shape Arts, and chairs access forums for Birmingham Hippodrome, Performances Birmingham and Birmingham New Street Station.
Lady-Marie was a PT Instructor in the Royal Signals prior to sustaining a spinal cord injury. She currently works as a Regional Peer Support Officer and Advocate for people with spinal injuries. She is an avid public transport user; train travel being her preferred mode of transport. Lady-Marie is also a member of a number of Transport mobility panels and undertakes access audits for her local authority.
Roger is a Profoundly Deaf Londoner. For 7 years he was a member of the Department of Transport Disabled Peoples Transport Advisory Group (DPTAG), followed by a further 7 years on the Transport for London Independent Disability Advisory Group (IDAG). As general secretary of The British Society for Mental Health and Deafness (BSMHD), Roger travels all over the UK.
Peter Lainson started life as an Army technician and subsequently worked in various Estates departments within the N.H.S., he spent the final ten years of his working life as a Community Liaison Officer for Essex County Council. He has been actively involved with the disability movement for much of the past 45 years, focusing particularly on access to the built environment and public transport since the mid-80s.
Tanvi Vyas is a disability consultant working with young disabled people and adults and families with muscular dystrophy.
She has travelled extensively across the UK and abroad and has featured in various media campaigns highlighting challenges faced by disabled people.
Alun Francis has been Disability Liaison Officer at Arsenal FC for over 12 years.
He has previously worked in the disability sector for the Access Committee for England (ACE) and RADAR (Royal Association for Disability Rights).
In addition to front line, operations, and senior management staff from within the projects’ TOC partners, the TOC Ability programme is supported by an Industry Advisory Group. This team consists of key contributors to the development of the UK’s railway network, each with significant experience or focus on delivering improved accessibility:
The TOC Ability hub will enable the GB rail industry to embrace international governance standards for data protection, including compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation Act in respect of sharing sensitive personal data.
Testing during 2018 between London Underground and Arriva UK Trains is hoped to demonstrate how TOC Ability will break down boundaries between rail operators and disabled passengers, advancing the UK rail networks’ overall accessibility.