Pioneering Augmented Reality Teaching Project Delivered by the National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure

The National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure (NCATI), has partnered with HS2 Ltd, immersive technology specialists PAULEY and consultancy Inventya to create the first UK Augmented Reality (AR) training project for station staff at the future Old Oak Common ‘super hub’.

Launched in late 2019 the innovative training project saw the College and partners work alongside Old Oak Common station designers and specialist engineers WSP, to develop AR training for the station’s future staff.

The programme specifically addressed how the station’s future staff can deliver a high level of service to a hub that has been designed to handle approximately 275,000 passengers every day who will be commuting through the HS2 and the Elizabeth line (Crossrail) routes.

Trainees and designers alike have benefitted from the College’s state-of-the-art AR equipment. The programme itself looked at how they can deliver a fantastic customer experience, station maintenance and safety in a secure environment before the hub is even built. Whilst the designers have been able to take the feedback from the project to hone their plans and avoid having to make costly changes to the structure after it has already been built.

National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure CEO, Clair Mowbray, said: “The National College is delighted to be part of this collaborative project, which will support the development of training programmes for train station staff using the latest interactive technologies.”

HS2 Ltd’s Stations Director, Mike Luddy, said:

“To accommodate that number of people in a pleasant, safe and efficient environment, it’s crucial that staff know the station’s workings in detail. The challenge is that Old Oak Common station hasn’t been built yet. So, to train the station’s entirely new workforce with the skills and knowledge they will need, we must innovate. Through this project, which is supported by Innovate UK and the DfT, we’re harnessing the power of digital technology to build Old Oak Common in augmented reality.”

PAULEY’s Founder and Managing Director, Philip Pauley, said: “We’re only starting to harness the power of augmented reality. Few people really get what it is and what it can do. The technology we’re bringing to HS2 enables the wearer to see Old Oak Common station in minute detail. It unlocks huge opportunities to explore, test and refine a digital replica of the station years before the passengers arrive.”

WSP Technical Director, John Harding, said: “This technology will enable us to future proof Old Oak Common station design. In future it can be used at other stations not just for training but for all staff following a refurbishment or upgrade.”

Inventya Project Manager, Andrew Kent, said: “Through the use of immersive technology, their research is set to improve the user experience of future train travellers, and we’re excited to be part of the journey.”