Guards at South West Trains are testing out a new mobile app designed to give rail staff easier access to the Rule Book.
Around 800 of the TOC’s guards will be trialling and providing feedback on the smartphone app with the hope the RSSB-led initiative will be made available for the whole industry in late 2017, if it’s successful.
The Rule Book dates back to 1876 and is an essential reference point for the 120,000 members of rail staff who are responsible for operating and maintaining Britain’s railways, setting out safety protocol and procedures.
Until the creation of the app, which will be developed by Mekon, staff have relied on either paper or downloadable PDF versions. It is hoped the app will make it easier for staff to access the Rule Book and easier for the RSSB to update it. As a result, it would also save on procurement and printing costs.
RSSB’s professional head of operations, Gary Portsmouth, said: “With an app, we will be able to access all of the content 24/7 more intuitively, making searching for specific topics easier than ever.
“It will also be far easier to update the content, allowing people to be notified of changes, with each amendment accompanied by an explanation of change.
“These benefits simply can’t be done on the traditional paper version.”
The RSSB aims to create a Rule Book app that:
- Enables users to access the Rule Book on compatible Windows, Android and IOS-run devices, whether they have access to the internet or not;
- To provide a product that provides members with the opportunity to stop providing hard copies of the Rule Book to staff;
- To improve the current usability of the Rule Book, with more responsive design, and presented in a way that suits a range of adult learning styles;
- To provide more detailed intelligence about how the Rule Book is used, and allow updates and briefing notes to be uploaded and updated centrally.
The introduction of the Rule Book app ties into the wider industry challenge of digitising the railway.