Ticket barriers could be removed from train stations in favour of sensors that detect passengers through an app on their smartphones.

The prototype technology being developed by Hitachi Rail would mean smartphones wouldn’t even need to be taken out of the bag, ending the need for queues at the barrier or ticket machines.

The Japanese firm said that passengers would be automatically charged the correct fare and testing will take place in Italy shortly, although it ultimately hopes the system will be used on buses, trams and trains in the UK.

The sensors would link up with a smartphone app and could be installed either at the entrance to the vehicle itself or on platforms.