Historic London Underground stations overcome hearing accessibility challenges

Transport for London (TFL) are the main authority for all aspects of ground transport in London, running the day-to-day operation of London’s public transport network and managing its main roads.

Hearing loop systems of various types are now fitted at ticket offices, help points, platforms, taxis and buses throughout TFL’s network to ensure London is fully accessible to people with hearing loss.

Initially, a visit to the Contacta offices by Tubelines and TFL resulted in a bespoke speech transfer system being produced. A trial of different system types was subsequently performed at Tottenham Court Road station, and this test – in which accessibility was increased and customer satisfaction heightened – led TFL to include a Contacta system in all refurbished offices from that point forward.

Contacta worked with Tubelines across the London Underground to install speech transfer systems and 1 to 1 hearing loop systems at ticket windows and Station Master offices.

Installation and service in London Underground stations present unique challenges to the integration, refurbishment and upgrade of technology. Some of TFL’s facilities are listed properties, meaning standard installation methods such as drilling into walls or removing tiles are often not permitted, requiring engineers to utilize creative solutions and expertise.

Contacta installers abided by strict time limits when installing speech transfer systems and hearing loops throughout Transport For London’s network, with installations being carried out between 12 am and 4 am. Visible system components had to match other equipment already onsite; in some of the older ticket offices, for example, systems were constructed from brass, meaning any new Contacta systems had to be painted with a brass colour coating.

With our ability to provide a wide range of solutions along with bespoke systems for installation in listed buildings, Contacta are proud to assist TFL in making their networks across London accessible for people with hearing loss.



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