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L.B.Foster’s New Inform Mobile, Wireless Totem providing essential passenger information across rail network during COVID disruption

Network Rail and UK train operating companies have deployed almost 130 new Inform by L.B. Foster customer information totems from Bristol to Liverpool, Leeds to London St Pancras, as efforts continue to enhance COVID19 passenger communications on stations and concourses.

Passengers at a total of eighteen stations operated by South Western Railways, MTR and Network Rail can now access travel, disruption and onward journey information on L.B. Foster’s innovative mobile, wireless, battery-powered digital display totems. These include Charing Cross, King’s Cross St Pancras, Liverpool Lime Street, Bristol Temple Mead, Birmingham New Street and Leeds.

Neil Sheffield is managing director of L.B. Foster TEW Engineering, L.B. Foster’s operating division behind the new totem technology. He says: “Since the start of this year we have seen unprecedented levels of interest in our Inform display and Inform Media software from the rail sector. At a time when clear communication is essential for keeping passengers safe, Inform is the solution of the moment.”

“The totem is unconstrained by fixed power supply and can be moved wherever it’s needed. Plus the content management provided by our powerful Inform Media software means we can instantaneously update messaging, as well as drawdown live travel data from Knowledge Base and Darwin feeds.”

With COVID-19 there’s never been a greater need to provide brilliant communications to our passengers. That’s not just about communicating the steps we have taken to reduce the risk of spreading the virus in stations, but also about providing valued-added information to enhance the journey experience.

When I first saw the totems it was clear the positive impact they would have on the passenger experience in our stations and would improve the passenger information available.

Tom Wood, Head of Stations, Kent & Sussex, Network Rail

Dagan Bradbury is Product Manager for L.B. Foster’s Inform project. He explains: “The Inform hardware suite is designed to deliver powerful on-screen content wherever and whenever it’s needed to convey important information to passengers.”

“There are two core delivery methods - our fully mobile totem or fixed, wall-mounted screens. It’s a powerful set of display solutions that is proving popular with Network Rail and TOCs. What they particularly like about our Inform totem is its capacity to be moved and set-up without the need for fixed power supplies. That’s because it features a high performance on-board battery, capable of running for 24 hours on a single charge.”

Damian McCracken is L.B. Foster’s operations manager responsible for the delivery of Inform Media. He says: “Inform Media is driven by an extremely powerful media generator, which provides plug-in applications that support ‘passenger first’ strategies. These include a train, tram, plane and bus locator visualised on maps, plus enhanced wayfinding and mapping tools, as well as walking, taxi and cycle hub links.”

“What attracted interest from Network Rail and TOCs is that Inform Media focuses on the total journey line. This is based on a detailed analysis of actual passenger journeys, identifying critical touchpoints at which information is accessed. These include ticket booking, car parking, platform information for station arrival, where to go, security information and retail/food and drink opportunities.”

“We are constantly evolving the functionality of Inform Media, through the valued feedback we receive from our customers. The software is infinitely adaptable and it is already delivering much more than immediate travel information. It’s the complete end to end software solution that’s only as limited as our imagination!”