Network Rail has launched new smartphone app Signly Network Rail, which will aid the 1 in 6 deaf people who live in the UK have access to a range of information that will help them to cross the railway with confidence. The launch forms part of a new campaign by Network Rail which aims to target those who may have a visual, hearing or mobility impairment.

Signly Network Rail is available, for free on Apple and android and works much like a QR-code where smartphone users can hover their phone or tablet over leaflets or posters, but rather than a QR-code it is programmed to recognise an image on the front. The app inserts a smart layer of signed (or spoken/filmed) digital information onto the screen of the user’s own mobile device. They simply open the app, point their device camera at the Signly- enabled information and a sign language translator appears as if by magic.

Working together with Deafax and Intermedia Solutions, Network Rail will launch the app at the Deaf Info and Deaf 50 plus annual event, attended by more than 500 members of the deaf community.

As well as launching Signly Network Rail, Network Rail has also produced a range of guides, leaflets and posters which provide information on the various audible, tactile and visual cues and warnings that are present at some of Britain’s level crossings to help users know when it is safe to cross the tracks.

Speaking at the Everyone Across Safely campaign launch, where he was demonstrating the new app to members of the deaf community, Allan Spence, Network Rail’s head of public and passenger safety said: “It is Network Rail’s duty to ensure our information is fully accessible and that everyone who uses the railway, whether as a rail passenger, or as a level crossing user, gets to wherever they want to be safely.

“Though Britain has one of the safest major rail networks in Europe, accidents and near misses with trains still occur. That’s why Network Rail is investing more than £100m as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to improve level crossing safety across the nation. We hope that this campaign will help everyone who uses the railway to do so safely and with confidence.”