Mel PoluckEditorWednesday 6 September 2017

Department offers £8 million for rail improvement technology

Department for Transport and Innovate UK launch contest to find state-of-the-art technology to make train travel more reliable

Train station at nightThe Department for Transport and government technology unit Innovate UK have released £7.9 million to fund new technology to improve reliability and information for passengers travelling on the rail network.

The Accelerating Innovation in Rail (AIR) is open to UK companies of all sizes. All entries must be collaborative, involving at least two different organisations and at least one SME. 

The department says the AIR scheme supports its broader large-scale improvement programme, which it bills as “the biggest rail modernisation since Victorian times to provide much-needed extra capacity, more services and better journeys”.

Successful projects may be deployed across UK trains following testing and demonstration.

This is the second round of AIR funding to be released. The last round in March attracted entries that included software that tells passengers how busy arriving trains are, personalised ticket machines, designs for automated vehicles that perform track inspections, and software to predict potential train breakdowns.

Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “This is about nurturing innovation on the railways and about developing trains that are less reliant on complex and expensive infrastructure.”

The £7.9 million funding includes up to £4 million from the private sector.

Entries are invited until 15 November.

 

Image by Jeremy Segrott, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr