The number of UK rail passengers has more than doubled in the last 20 years to about 1.7bn a year. Working with Network Rail, Innovate UK has allocated up to £300,000 for ways to make automated design more efficient, allowing Network Rail to accelerate new designs, explore long-term performance and assess demand. The aim is to build safer and higher-capacity railway infrastructure, save money and improve services.
The competition organisers said that planning for the long-term future of the UK’s railways involves navigating a complex range of systems. As well as crossing many different types of terrain and land uses, there are underlying considerations such as stock and track maintenance, bridges and tunnels.
The competition is open to industrial research projects as well as experimental development projects that are closer to market.
Projects should automate the design of at least one of the following: track layout, overhead line electrification, the traction power supply system, signalling systems; or other railway infrastructure. Projects must show how they build on existing automated design technology and work in a simulated rail infrastructure design environment.
The competition opens on 22 October 2018 and the deadline for applications is at midday on 19 December 2018.