Making Transport Accessible

The Challenge

There are almost two million people in the UK living with a visual impairment of which 360,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted. In addition, over ten million people experience some form of hearing loss, more than 800,000 being severely or profoundly deaf.

Bus travel plays a vital role in enabling disabled people, including those who have visual or hearing impairment, to live more independent lives.

Audio and visual information systems available on board some buses and coach services across the UK can therefore have a big impact on the lives of the visually and hearing-impaired people, enabling them to use buses with confidence. However, for bus or coach operators product installation and maintenance costs are currently a barrier to making those systems more widely available on buses.

The All Aboard competition challenges students aged between 14-18 years old to come up with alternative, innovative solutions to provide accessible information on buses to those with visuals or hearing impairments.

These proposals should:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the current barriers to using the bus network for people who have a visual or hearing impairment.
  • Keep in mind the current assistive technology operating on buses, while also looking into new or emerging technologies.
  • Aim to be innovative, cost effective and easy to install on the existing bus fleets.
  • Be created for use on the bus itself and not rely on individual personal devices that the passengers might carry (such as mobile phone apps).

Competition deadline: February 13 2015


  • Total number of buses in the UK: 46,300.
  • Less than one in five (19%) buses have audio visual technology, with the majority of these (97%) in Greater London
  • All 8,700 buses operating in London are fitted with audio-visual next stop announcements
  • 84% of the general public believe audio visual technology will improve their own experience on buses
  • A quarter (25%) of bus passengers who are blind and partially sighted rely on the bus every day with a further third (36%) using it at least two or three times a week
  • Two thirds (65%) of blind and partially sighted bus passengers in the UK have missed their stop in the last six months