Transport Minister Baroness Kramer unveiled the winning entry – a vibrating wrist band - in a competition challenging tech-savvy students to improve travel for disabled bus passengers (13 March 2015).
The winner of the Dragon’s Den style contest, Daria Buszta, aged 17 from Nottingham, received a cheque for £1,000 from the minister at the Big Bang Fair at Birmingham NEC.
Daria’s winning design is a low-cost adjustable wristband given out by bus drivers incorporating a Bluetooth device that links up with the driver’s ticket machine and vibrates when the passenger is close to their chosen stop.
Daria will now get the opportunity to work with local businesses to have her design developed into a working prototype. This will include using funding worth £100,000 from the Transport Systems Catapult, one of seven technology and innovation centres established and overseen by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.
Baroness Kramer, head judge for the All Aboard competition, said:
Disabled people have the same rights as anyone else to access public transport, but there remain obstacles. This competition, driven by the lack of audio-visual for the deaf and blind, was a fantastic opportunity to make buses more user-friendly for all of the passengers who rely on them.
Daria came up with a very simple answer to a complicated problem. Her design was discrete, cost effective and has huge potential. This isn’t just an idea that will stay on paper. It will get serious backing and will hopefully start changing people’s lives in the not too distant future.
Daria Buszta, who is from West Bridgford in Nottingham and attends Bilborough College, said:
I wasn’t expecting to win, but I’m excited that my idea will be made into a real working product. I’m so glad it will help so many people feel comfortable and independent on public transport.
Passengers with sight or hearing impairments can find it difficult to identify the number or destination of their bus, know where and when to get off or hear important on-board announcements. Two-thirds say they have missed their stop in the past six months.
The All Aboard competition is part of the government’s Accessible Britain Challenge which encourages communities to be inclusive and accessible. The competition was run by the government-funded Transport Systems Catapult.
The competition was presented by BBC technology presenter Spencer Kelly. The judging panel included:
Baroness Kramer, Minister of State for Transport
Lord Low of Dalston, Vice President of the RNIB
Teresa Morini, musician, producer and campaigner for Action on Hearing Loss
Martin Hancock, Development Director, National Express
Corbin Adler, Non-executive Director of Mobile Onboard, a UK company specialising in technology for public transport