CRA 2014 winner - Innovation

National Rail Enquiries – Cycling in the National Rail Enquiries mobile app

With the number of annual cycle-rail journeys breaking 39 million, the popular National Rail Enquiries iOS / Android App has been enhanced with cycle-rail content to cater for this growing audience. The ‘Cycling in the Mobile App’ project adds information about cycling amenities on trains and at stations to give passengers the full picture of their whole journey when using the tool. With this new layer of dedicated content, cyclists can check the available facilities conveniently on their smartphones before they start their journeys. Previously, they had to consult the ATOC ‘Cycling by Train’ leaflet or check each train company’s operating policy before travelling. This was time consuming and could be confusing where a TOC’s guidelines were complex and customers often had to speak to staff via contact centres or at ticket offices to clarify whether they could travel with a cycle.

‘Cycling in the Mobile App’ gathered information on each train network’s cycle policy, together with any restrictions and added this layer of cycle-rail intelligence to the existing app to inform journeys mapped out via the app’s ‘Planner’ or ‘Live Trains’ tools. National Rail Enquiries collaborated with Thales to create a ‘cycling web service,’ which pools this cycle-specific information from train operating companies in a format the app can use. Since the new cycle-rail content went live in October 2013, customers have been able to conveniently access cycle-rail information in a couple of clicks on their phone and check if they need a reservation.

The project has achieved its objectives in providing customers with clear information about whether they can travel by train with a bicycle and the facilities they can expect before, during and after their journey. It was financed by ATOC, the Enabling Innovation Team, the Department for Transport and the Bicycle Association of Great Britain’s Bike Hub levy fund.

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