The Thistle Assistance programme is all about helping to relieve travel anxiety, we want people to feel confident when using all forms of public transport across Scotland.

Our research has highlighted that there is a need to improve the door to door journey for people with mobility challenges allowing them to access the public transport network more easily and with confidence – combining journey planning, wayfinding, and disability awareness into one easy to use and versatile platform. The platform would deliver in two key areas which respond to passengers needs as identified by the Campaign for Better Transport.

The South East of Scotland Transport Partnership (SEStran) & Sentireal are excited to announce a project that will look to meet this challenge, Thistle Assistance VoyagAR.

Tom Houston CEO of Sentireal says: “Sentireal are absolutely delighted to be awarded the contract to deliver Thistle Assistance VoyagAR.  Being part of the solution to help the most vulnerable in our community gain independence in travel is both a professional and personal win.  We look forward to working with the team at SEStran to deliver a world class application.  Financially this is a significant contract and further validation of our investment in local talent in software development, web development, content creation, and Artificial Intelligence.  VoyagAR will be the first wayfinding application to consider the individual needs of the user and create a journey most suitable to their circumstances.  We will be reaching out to charities and community groups to gain input and guidance as we move forward with development.”

The Thistle Assistance is a key component of transport strategy in Scotland and delivers on the Scottish Governments ambition to have an inclusive and accessible transport system. People rely on public transport to access jobs, services, facilities, family, and friends. While many of the barriers identified by disabled people and non-disabled people in undertaking journeys are the same, the impact can be different.

Councillor Gordon Edgar, Chair SEStran says: “If we want people to make different travel choices, we must think more clearly about their whole journey, how each part of it connects, and how we can better integrate those parts. This applies to all citizens but is perhaps even more relevant to those members of our communities that have a disability.”

SEStran and the other 6 Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs), Scottish Enterprise, Disability Equality Scotland, Transport Scotland and Transport Operators are all working towards this ambition.

Thistle Assistance VoyagAR is being funded by the Scottish Enterprise Can Do Innovation fund, so, whether you are popping to the shops, going to see a friend, or travelling somewhere faraway the Thistle Assistance Programme is always there to help! Because “A Little Help Goes A long way.”

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