A new competition has been launched by the Department for Transport designed to provide resilient new technologies to improve rail journeys and passenger experience.
With the UK rail industry transporting 1.7Bn passengers and 110Bn tonnes of freight between 2017 and 2018, new technologies are needed to help meet passenger needs, offer better journeys and increase sustainability in rail services.
The Department for Transport is making £5.5M available for organisations, through a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition, to develop ‘first of a kind’ demonstrators. These should use existing technologies and develop these further for the rail industry.
Rail Minister Andrew Jones said: “We have already seen some truly innovative projects developed for the benefit of passengers in these competitions, helping to drive forward a greener, cleaner and more reliable rail network.
“This additional funding will spark even more innovation and ideas that deliver for commuters.
“We are also investing £48Bn to modernise our railways over the next five years, ensuring people have the safe, frequent and punctual journeys they deserve.”
The competition aims to reduce costs, double capacity, lower carbon emissions and improve customer experiences across four themes:
- infrastructure resilience, including protection against adverse weather conditions
- operational resilience, such as using data to inform train maintenance activities
- freight, including improved routing and tracking capabilities
- noise and environment, including innovations mitigating engine noise
Some 16 projects are expected to be funded across all four themes.
Projects should produce an interactive and innovative demonstrator that shows rail industry stakeholders and customers how a technology will work in a real-world rail environment. This can be:
- within a railway station
- in rolling stock
- on railway infrastructure
- in the environment close to the railway
- the competition opens on 25 February 2019 and the deadline for registration is at midday on 17 April 2019
- organisations of any size are eligible to apply, working alone or collaborating with others as subcontractors
- total eligible costs can be between £250,000 and £350,000 including VAT
- projects will be 100% funded
- briefing events will be held in London on 26 February 2019, Manchester on 28 February 2019 and Cardiff on 7 March 2019, where organisations can find out more about making an application
If you are interested in finding out more about key infrastructure trends today, you may wish to attend the flagship infrastructure exhibition at the NEC in April 2019 : UKIS 2019
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