Network Rail works closely with the rail industry on suicide prevention initiatives and is regarded as a world leader in this area. With 256 suicides on the UK railways every year, it is constantly looking for new ways to combat this problem.
For its latest suicide prevention initiative, Network Rail aimed to enlist the help of passengers, providing them with a direct way to report someone who could be in danger of harm. The decision was made to create an application called Rail505, to enable passengers to alert emergency response teams to individuals at risk, whilst being able to access vital information on what to look out for.
The application needed to be fast to load, simple to navigate and usable in a variety of rail network locations. It also needed to be seamlessly integrated with the system used by the emergency response team.
This was a collaborative project which involved a vast number of stakeholders, ranging from advertising professionals to law enforcement officers. MMT Digital worked seamlessly with National Rail as one team to deliver the application.
As this was a completely new initiative which sought to tackle an extremely sensitive issue, there was a great deal of uncertainty and risk involved. The decision was made for the app to be delivered as a pilot initially, with a view to rolling out nationally if successful.
An extensive research project was carried out to determine the correct messaging and branding and with a short deadline of just five weeks. This meant that MMT Digital needed to be flexible to changes whilst developing the app. Its agile way of working was perfect for this as it meant it was able to adapt functionality as needed.
The team developed a fully responsive Drupal application which is user friendly and extremely quick to load. It is integrated with geolocation so that the emergency response team receive exact coordinates of an incident, enabling them to reach it in the fastest possible time.
Before the launch of the pilot, MMT Digital carried out a live testing exercise at various locations on the rail network to ensure that all integrations worked seamlessly with existing safety practices used by the response team.
The project has been a rewarding experience for MMT Digital as it was able to work collaboratively with a varied project team towards a shared goal of tackling suicide on the rail network. During the testing phase of the app, two successful interventions were carried out, and National Rail noted an 82 per cent increase in the chance of incidents being reported. Due to the success of the first pilot, the agency are now working with Network Rail to roll out the second phase.