Sensorial accessibility

Using public transport implies searching for useful information to optimise your trip. Having easy access to that information is essential for persons with reduced mobility, or for people with problems of comprehension for whom being reassured is vital. For the sight impaired, each stage of a journey implies having access to a rich supply of important sound information in the various spaces that are crossed. The safety of a journey, with the autonomy required by the spirit of the law of 2005-10, implies the installation of equipment that can suitably respond to the information needs of persons with limited sensorial capacity. 

The Equisens project

The Equisens project is a collaborative initiative to install equipment and amenities in public areas for persons with limited sensorial capacity. RATP’s Accessibility Advisory Committee (9 associations) has been invited to participate on several occasions. Included as part of the 5-year investment programme signed with Île-de-France Mobilités, the transport organising authority for the Ile-de-France region, the project covers our 383 metro stations and 65 RER stations. After testing and evaluation, these visual, audio and tactile facilities are now being deployed in transport areas. They help passengers to locate different services and access passenger information.

Here are the different types of equipment used to facilitate the movements of the visually impaired in our spaces. Some are already in place, while others are in the deployment phase. Complementary facilities will be installed in phase 2 of the Equisens project.



Audio beacons to locate entrances and the main services

Audio beacons will be installed as part of the Equisens project. They enable the sight impaired to locate metro and RER station entrances, thanks to the messages they broadcast when triggered by the same type of universal remote control that is used at crosswalks. Inside metro and RER stations, audio beacons will also be installed to the right of information desks and special audio-feedback ticket vending machines.

Altogether, 918 external beacons will equip 271 metro and RER stations. Integration studies are underway to discretely integrate this equipment in the so-called “historic” stations with their classic Guimard entrances. Inside the equipped stations, other audio beacons will guide the sight impaired towards the main services: the information desk, where they can speak with a station agent, and the special audio-feedback ticket vending machines, where they can purchase their ticket or travel pass. 

Audio-feedback ticket vending machines

If you are blind or sight impaired, you may purchase your ticket or travel pass using a new generation vending machine that uses a specially designed audio feedback navigation system for the sight impaired. It uses a specific visual and audio interface. In addition to its speakers, the vending machine is also equipped with headphones for very noisy environments. These special vending machines are located in metro and RER stations and at tramway stops.

Signalling using hypersigns

Hypersigns are increasingly being used for signalling in the rail networks’ corridors, to favour immediate understanding, particularly for the sight impaired. 

Secured stairways

The first secured stairways are being installed in 57 stations on lines M1, M2 and M3, as well as in the Port-Royal, Laplace, and Val de Fontenay RER stations. The equipment includes BEV warning strips, contrasting, anti-slip nosers and risers, and specific signalling for the top and bottom stairs.
Handrails will be extended in phase 2 of the Equisens project. 

Platform call boxes that can be located easily by the sight impaired

At the request of CFPSAA, an interception band perpendicular to the flow of traffic has also been installed on platforms to indicate the location of a passenger call box to contact the station agent. The new call box currently being deployed on the RATP network is equipped with a magnetic loop that enables the hearing impaired to contact the station agent. An audio message can also be triggered by the sight impaired using their remote control to help locate the call box. 

Audio information on metro platforms

The wait time before the next two metro trains is announced via loudspeakers. Distinguishing the direction of trains is facilitated by the use of a male voice for one direction and a female voice for the other.