World’s first 5G tram launched in West Midlands

Posted: 8 March 2021 | | No comments yet

The very first 5G tram has been trialled in the West Midlands, where the technology has been used to provide crucial information to those with accessibility needs.

West Midlands Metro

Tram 35 from West Midlands Metro in England became the first fully-realised 5G enabled tram – part of a trial undertaken by West Midlands Metro (WMM), West Midlands 5G (WM5G), and GoMedia.

The tram and a number of tram stops have been equipped with an innovative trial Transport Accessibility solution, which those behind it say can be rolled out to public transport without the need for expensive electronic hardware solutions.

Transport Accessibility looks to solve the problem of a lack of real-time information for those who need more help when travelling on the UK public transport network.

The focus of the trial is to increase the number of independent journeys the visually impaired can make whilst travelling across the public transport network. Developed in collaboration with the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB), it will provide timely and accurate information to passengers who need additional assistance while in a station or on the transport network. Relevant information is transmitted to passengers’ devices in the format that they require, over 5G cellular networks

Future tertiary benefits of the solution could include services for all passengers such as live tv, live radio and streamed content across the network.

“We  are really pleased to be awarding funding to projects that we truly believe – when proven – will transform transport within the region,” said Chris Holmes, Programme Director Transport at WM5G.

“We look forward to seeing what our new partners deliver and will support them in the realisation of real and tangible benefits.”

John Worsfold, Innovation and Technology Implementation Manager at RNIB, added: “Technology has and continues to open up the world for people with sight loss, and this opportunity has the potential to increase access to relevant information whilst travelling for blind and partially sighted people.

“We’re delighted to be supporting this initiative in raising the bar of independently accessing information whilst making journeys, and the benefits this will bring for people with sight loss in the West Midlands.”