The Irish Minister of State for Equality, Disability Issues and Mental Health, John Moloney T.D. officially launched a significant new ground-breaking change to the Luas, Dublin's light rail tram fleet.
People with hearing difficulties are the big winners in an innovative change which is being made to all 66 Luas trams. This change will allow those with the most common type of hearing aid to hear the onboard automated announcements and also the announcements which the driver makes on the trams.
The existing internal public address and emergency communications systems onboard the Luas trams are being modified in the CC module of the tram (i.e. the suspended central section of the tram which is dedicated for priority seating) on each vehicle to include what is known as an induction loops system. The Ampetronic system which is being installed by Alstom Ireland Limited has just commenced installation and will be extended to all 66 trams in the Luas fleet in the coming months.
This innovation which is state of the art is a unique modification which continues to keep Luas at the forefront of Railway Accessibility for All, internationally. The loop will assist people with hearing impairments and has already received positive feedback in tests commissioned by RPA and Veolia Transport.
Design of the system started in March 2010 and was completed by May 2010 and was quickly followed by testing which was carried out in June and July 2010. Modification of the trams has just commenced and the full fleet of trams will be fitted with the loop by the end of December 2010.