The award acknowledges five years of work, led by HS2 Ltd and companies within its supply chain, to ensure Britain’s new railway is designed to be inclusive and accessible to all.
As part of its inclusive design approach, HS2 has held focus groups, virtual reality simulations and live testing sessions with charitable organisations, community groups and individuals with disabilities and protected characteristics. User experience sessions have played a pivotal role in determining appropriate lighting levels in stations, how wayshowing and signage will be presented, and the height, size and placement of seating on trains, platforms and concourse areas.
This bespoke design approach was found to exceed the legal and moral responsibilities of inclusivity and diversity.
Neil Smith, Inclusive Design Lead at HS2 Ltd said:
“We’re absolutely delighted to receive this award. HS2 is the first new railway to built north of London in over 100 years, so this is a unique opportunity to address the day-to-day challenges that so many passengers face.”
“The CIC has recognised our commitment to ensuring that everyone has a great experience on HS2, whether visiting our stations, travelling on our trains, or working in our depots. Our spaces are designed with a ‘people first’ approach and we’re exceptionally proud of that.”
HS2 Design is striving to ensure that the everyone’s needs are accommodated. All HS2 stations and train to platform interfaces will be step free and as such passengers with accessibility requirements will not need to book assistance in advance. Signage and wayshowing is designed to aid passengers with both hearing and visual impairments, and lighting levels and quiet spaces will be designed to meet the needs of individuals who are neurodivergent.
To achieve recognition from CIC, HS2 Ltd was required to show how it supported the organisation's six essential principles. This included the appointment of an inclusivity champion at board level and examples of how accessibility was considered at all stages of the design and procurement process.
CIC’s Chief Executive Graham Watts, said of the recognition;
“We are delighted to award HS2 with Inclusive Environments Recognition at Organisational Level. They have shown that their commitment to inclusion is ingrained within their organisation and project delivery. It is wonderful to see such a large infrastructure organisation pave the way for inclusivity for their passengers building a railway that can span future generations.”