Planning rail capacity through automated infrastructure design

Fund Name: Planning rail capacity through automated infrastructure design
Project Length: 6 months to a year
Project Value: Share of £300k
Deadline: 19/12/2018


This competition aims to encourage the development of products and services that enable the rapid automatic design of rail infrastructure. This will allow us to model the railway’s capacity for the future and stimulate further development of automated design tools.

Fund details

Automatic design is important to Network Rail to:

1. Accelerate the infrastructure design process, while:

  • taking into account the complex interacting factors that affect design effectiveness
  • allowing the exploration of more suitable options

2. Quickly and easily create designs to input into simulations of long-term railway performance, which will lead to better-informed decisions about future capacity

Your proposal must show good use of existing technologies and capabilities in automated or generative design. You must clearly understand the factors that affect railway infrastructure design.

Your solution must produce optimal designs that could be used as candidates for implementation. It must take into account:

  • representative data (such as topography, infrastructure components and layout, or surrounding features)
  • control factors or weightings (to set priorities in the output for maintenance costs, resilience, journey times, and so on)
  • constraints (such as land availability)
  • predicted demand

The designs your solution produces must be detailed enough for modelling new infrastructure and services in Railsys and comparable industry standard simulation tools. In the long term it will ideally be suitable for linking to these tools more closely, to accelerate design and evaluation processes. It must output geographical referencing using the WGS84 and ETRS89 co-ordinate systems.

Your solution must automate the design of one or more of:

  • Track layout
  • Overhead line electrification
  • Traction power supply system
  • Signalling systems
  • Other railway infrastructure

Your total project costs must be between £50,000 and £200,000. Projects must start by 30 April 2019 and end by 31 March 2020. Projects can last between 6 months and one year.


To be eligible for funding you must:

  • be a UK based business, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • propose a project that meets Innovate UK’s  definition of industrial research or experimental development
Get in touch

If you think that you might be eligible for this fund, please Get In Touch by filling out the contact form below.

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