In February our Accessibility and Inclusion Manager Emma took part in a ‘Try Before You Fly’ session at East Midlands Airport to explore the support that can be offered when flying with her assistance dog, Luna. Emma said: ‘it was great to see that East Midlands Airport have a proactive approach to accessibility. I was particularly excited by the airside grass spending areas for Luna!’
‘If you require some familiarisation with our airport ahead of travel, our Assisted Travel Team proudly operates a select number of Try Before You Fly events each year. Our Try Before You Fly tours are popular with (but not limited to) customers with autism or neurodivergence, or newly disabled people unfamiliar with our assistance and equipment. Each tour is personalised to your individual requirements.’
Transreport Take On Aviation
As a leading technology company centred around accessibility, we take great pride in our deep understanding of the barriers to accessible travel. We actively engage with disabled people, listening to their first-hand experiences with rail and air travel. By collaborating with industry experts and incorporating these valuable insights, we have developed tailor-made solutions that enhance accessibility and improve the overall travel experience for disabled and older passengers.
We host regular rail and aviation accessibility panels where disabled people ranging from campaigners, activists and high-profile spokespeople are paid for their time as they share their insights and experiences into travel. This enables us to understand the barriers to accessible travel more and to receive ongoing feedback about our products aligned to the experiences people are having within rail and aviation.
It is paramount that we understand the barriers to accessible travel and aviation is no exception in order for us to create bespoke solutions for organisations to improve their assistance processes resulting in improved customer satisfaction, increased profits and staff morale as processes are streamlined and effective for both disabled and older people, and staff alike.
As part of our commitment to promoting accessibility in air travel, we provide complimentary airport accessibility audits. These access audits are specifically designed to help airports review their accessibility management and culture in a structured and systematic manner.
Our team of experts will conduct a detailed evaluation of your facilities, services, and processes, identifying any areas that may present challenges for disabled and older people. We will then provide a comprehensive report that includes practical recommendations and solutions for removing barriers and creating accessible solutions. This continuous path of improvement empowers airports to make necessary adjustments and enhance their accessibility initiatives.
Meet Our Accessibility And Inclusion Manager; Emma Partlow
Introducing Transreport’s Accessibility and Inclusion Manager Emma Partlow. She is an experienced researcher, and teacher and advocates for Equality, Diversity, and Human Rights. Emma can often be found travelling nationwide with Luna her assistance dog and will be hosting a seminar at Naidex on 22nd March where she will draw upon her own lived experiences of navigating rail and aviation travel with Luna.
I specialise in accessibility and inclusion through my own lived experiences of being disabled and ten years of research into the lived experiences of disabled people with a focus on legislative and policy impact. I will shortly be Dr Partlow and continue to publish within this area.
I have experience working within the railway industry specialising in accessibility and previously have undertaken a range of roles and research projects that focus specifically on inclusion and diversity.
1 in 5 people in the UK is disabled, yet in 2023 there remain huge barriers that disabled people are facing. The disability employment rate in 2021 was 52.7%, compared to 81.0% for non-disabled people so a gap is present. Throughout my own research, I have developed a critical eye for employment issues and I’m mindful that organisations often want to employ disabled people in order to ‘add’ diversity to their organisations when the reality is more complex.
When I spotted an advert for my role at Transreport that stated within the advert that ‘lived experience’ and ‘an understanding of the Social Model of disability’ was desired I knew that Transreport prioritise accessibility and inclusion and it was clear that this was an organisation I could enter proud of my identity as a disabled person.
As a user of Transreport’s flagship product, Passenger Assistance, I was aware of the difference it is making for disabled and older people using public transport. However, as I learnt more about the company’s inception and mission it was evident that inclusion and accessibility are the founding principles of every conversation, decision and action the team makes.
I quickly knew I wanted to join and contribute to leading the organisation on its journey. Not only because of their contributions to accessibility and inclusivity but because of how they reflected this ethos throughout their organisation and workplace and what this means as a disabled employee.
For example, Transreport prioritises flexible and remote working. For me, this is a game-changer. I love travelling by train and it is beyond empowering knowing that because of the Passenger Assistance app, I can turn up at a station and receive the accessibility support I need. However, as a disabled person who faces chronic fatigue, having the choice to not commute every single day means that I am a better employee who is more productive. It also means that I have energy left for arguably the most important things in life, like reading a bedtime story with my daughter at the end of the day or spending time with my husband, friends, and family. In turn, this means when I am at work I am engaged and motivated because of the work-life balance it creates.
What is International Women’s Day?
8th March is a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Today places a focus on women’s equality and shares a global call to action. International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for over a century, the first IWD gatherings were in 1911 and supported by over a million individuals. IWD is not a country, group or organisation-specific event and belongs to everyone, collectively everywhere.
International Women’s Day is celebrated every year and raises awareness of women’s achievements and challenges. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity with a specific United Nations focus on ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality. Under ‘DigitALL’ United Nations is highlighting the importance and need for transformative and inclusive technological and digital educational provision.
The United Nations and many other organisations globally highlight issues faced by women. United Nations recognise that there is a digital gender gap which is widening economic and social inequalities. Girls and women who are the front runners in championing the advancement of transformative technological and digital education are celebrated as part of this year’s theme highlighting the role of all stakeholders in improving access and inclusion to digital products and tools.
Embrace Equity is the hashtag you will find alongside celebrations for International Women’s Day 2023. Equity is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have – society must focus on gender equity and the difference between equity and equality is important.
Equality means any individual or group of people being given the same opportunities and resources whereas Equity recognises that each individual has different backgrounds, and circumstances and may need different resources to be made available in order to reach an equal outcome. Equality is the goal and equity is how we can get there.
The aim of this year’s Embrace Equity campaign is to get the world to discuss ‘why equal opportunities are not enough’. Individuals start from different places and backgrounds, therefore, true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.
We can all be a part of embracing equity – it is important that equity is not just something that is spoken or written about, we need to think about it, value it and embrace it in order to create an inclusive world. When equity is embraced and prioritised, we are also valuing diversity and inclusion.
Transreport are embracing equity
This year’s theme of ‘Embrace Equity’ highlights how important it is to ensure that we are all working towards levelling the playing field for all women and girls, by creating opportunities for everyone to shine. As part of this year’s theme, we wanted to highlight some of the women we have working at Transreport who have shared what this theme means to them and have been drawing upon their own experiences of working within Transreport. Read more from some of our colleagues below:
Linda Truong, Marketing Manager
‘Working in a traditionally male-dominated industry can sometimes feel overwhelming. However, having an employer like Transreport that recognises people’s skills regardless of gender can make a big difference. By encouraging women to embrace technology and innovation in their roles, it will help to create an environment of inclusion and collaboration. Taking steps to ensure that everyone has access to the same resources and opportunities will go a long way towards creating a truly equal workforce.’
Nicole Wong, HR Manager
‘We have been dedicatedly working to establish a workplace culture that highly regards and encourages female leadership, especially in the tech industry that has traditionally been dominated by men. In my opinion, providing women with more career opportunities in this field is integral to our commitment to taking concrete steps towards addressing gender inequality and cultivating a work environment that is inclusive, supportive, and respectful to all individuals. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it serves as a reminder to continue our efforts towards achieving a more fair and just future for women in the tech industry and other sectors.’
Linda Xu, HR Assistant
‘I hope every woman will realise that her power is unlimited. Please believe in yourself and do what you want to do.’
Emma Partlow, Accessibility, and Inclusion Manager
‘Embracing equity to me is recognising that there is still work to do in order to level the playing field and we all have a role to play in furthering equality. Diversity and inclusion within the workplace is not just ‘nice’ but essential in having a strong team of colleagues that feel able to bring their lived experiences to work with them.’
Mollie Woods, Product Owner
‘Transreport is the first company where I have truly felt of equal value to all of my peers regardless of gender. It’s amazing to find a company that recognises the advantages of having women around the table, making key decisions, and being involved in shaping the future. Everyone has their own unique experiences in work and life and true innovation comes from an environment that allows everyone to flourish and share the learned skills from these experiences with each other. Women are amazing and can add so much value to the tech industry. All the women here at Transreport certainly do!’
Sophie Wiley, Research and Project Analyst
‘International women’s day gives us all a chance to recognise the impact women can make on all industries. As an industry, the technology sector has a long way to go for full equality and diversity. Transreport shows it’s not only possible for equality in the industry but how it can thrive when equality is addressed’
Celebrating IWD at Transreport
At Transreport we are expressing our gratitude to our colleagues for their dedication and commitment to our organisation, ethos and values. We recognise and appreciate the hard work and effort that each of our colleagues put in to make our company a success. This comes with special appreciation to all the women at Transreport on IWD 2023. We have strong women represented across our organisation and their contribution has been instrumental in shaping TR’s growth.
As a token of our appreciation, we are pleased to announce that all TR employees are entitled to a half day off (to be used today or at a later date before the end of May 2023) in celebration of International Women’s Day. We hope that our colleagues use this extra time off and opportunity to spend time with loved ones, pursue hobbies, or simply unwind and recharge.
Transreport’s Embracing Equity pledge
For International Women’s Day 2023, Transreport is pledging to continue to:
Celebrate women’s achievements
We will call out gendered actions and assumptions
We will challenge gender stereotypes, discrimination, and bias
We will maintain a gender-equal mindset
We will forge positive visibility for women
In addition to the above promises, we are launching our internal Gender Diversity training programme for all colleagues which will focus on providing foundational knowledge about gender, understanding gender at work, and supporting gender identity and expression to ensure all of our colleagues have the knowledge they need in order to work in harmony with each other and work towards embracing equity with the end goal being equality.
Transreport: Our story so far
Transreport sets out to make good use of the endless possibilities that technology gives us. We aim to improve the travel experience for all users, one step at a time.
Back in 2017, our founder Jay found himself in a conversation with a disabled person, a conversation that opened his eyes to the struggles that disabled people face when travelling. Beyond checking train times, he discovered that disabled passengers have so much to take into account before starting their journeys. Many people campaigned across social media to raise awareness of these issues to the wider general public, but these problems were occurring too often. So Jay decided to look into this and began creating his own solution for these issues. This is how the Passenger Assistance app was created, and the rest is now history. As more and more valuable and skilled team members join the team, Transreport continues to grow in size every day, new goals are achieved and more journeys are improved for the wider public.
With a mission to ensure that transport is accessible to all, Transreport developed an app that allows disabled people to pre-book assistance for their rail journeys. Through working with an accessibility panel it was clear how much-disabled people had to pre-plan for their everyday journeys and how much time they had to dedicate to this. We wanted to create a solution that would give them more independence and improve their experience with transport, starting with rail. The technology that our team has developed has meant that disabled passengers now have a more consistent booking experience. Many real-life journeys using the app recorded across social media have shown how it has helped disabled people find comfort in both travelling alone and travelling by rail.
Our SQR system
In 2018, the Service Quality Regime (SQR) was introduced by the Department for Transport to improve customer service across the UK rail network. Complying with these requirements quickly became difficult for many of the UK’s railway operators. That’s where Transreport came in, our team came up with their own compatible SQR system to address specific changes that operators such as East Midlands Railway and West Midlands Trains couldn’t keep up with. Using our system, these train operators managed to achieve many things such as large financial benefits, improving customer satisfaction and better performance monitoring.
So what’s next? Well, we don’t plan to stop there! Transreport’s goal is to expand our technology solutions into every mode of transport whether that be plane, coach or bus, in the UK and beyond. We are also fast approaching the launch of our Passenger Assistance web app, meaning users can now pre-book assistance online without the app, which expands the accessibility of our existing assistance product. With our teams growing quickly, there’s huge potential for so much to be achieved at the company and we’re so excited for what the future holds. We will continue to innovate and bring new ideas to the table to create a brighter future for the transport industry. Watch out for us!
“Since launching in the UK, we have received the most incredible stories from users of the Passenger Assistance app who have travelled freely, often for the first time, to visit family, enjoy days out and get to work. Seemingly normal journeys for many, but full of complexities and anxieties for the disabled community.
Transreport’s purpose is to enable everyone globally to make journeys freely with comfort and ease.”