The Rail Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), in partnership with Downer Group and Monash University, is funding a $2.4 million innovative project to improve access for Australian rail passengers getting on and off trains.

This 18-month project involves manufacturing and testing a device for use between a station platform and the train door, to close the gap when passengers board and depart the train.

The project’s key goal is to support more accessible travel options for train passengers.

“To address transport objectives set in Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, this project is driven by the need to improve travel experiences for all Australian train commuters,” Dr Vincent Moug, the Lead Project Researcher within Monash’s Mobility Design Lab, said.

The project will assess the design and engineering requirements for a gap filling polymer-based solution, invented by Monash University, including testing the product’s safety, durability, engineering feasibility and operational functionality.

“A key element of the project is to assess whether the solution is best attached to either the train station platform or the train itself, which will be tested in field trials across Melbourne,” Mike Ayling, Downer’s GM Digital Technology and Innovation, said.

The gap filling solution will be prototyped using 3D scanning and printing.

“Not only is the project identifying an innovative response to improving train station access for all users, but the team is also using key technologies when prototyping the polymer solution, so it will be exciting to watch this work progress,” Dr Stuart Thomson, CEO of the Rail Manufacturing CRC, said.

The project team has now commenced assessing rail networks to determine the design requirements before prototyping and product testing commences.

The project is due for completion by 28 February 2020.

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