Trialling new rail technologies: apply for contracts
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £9.4 million to show how new technologies could improve rail services for passengers and operators.
The UK rail industry transports 1.7 billion passengers and 110 million tonnes of freight each year and faces challenges from rapid growth and changing customer expectations.
The number of trains has increased by 28% since 1997 and demand for rail transport is expected to increase by 58% over the next 10 years.
Light rail and local transport systems are expanding and creating opportunities for UK businesses.
Current engineering and technologies are struggling to keep pace with the demand. New technologies could help the rail industry to meet expectations, improve services for customers and open new markets for business.
Innovate UK has up to £9.4 million from the Department for Transport to invest in demonstrations of new technologies that could improve rail services.
Funding for this ‘first of a kind’ competition is under the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) and managed by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.
Projects must use new technology in rail environment
The competition aims to fund projects that demonstrate for the first time how proven technologies, such as automation or innovative uses of data, could be used on the railways.
Projects must seek to demonstrate the technology as a compelling business idea in areas such as a railway station, rolling stock, rail infrastructure or an environment close to a railway.
They are expected to focus on 1 of 4 themes:
- environmental sustainability including low-carbon freight, energy generation and storage, low-emission self-powered vehicles, improved air quality, noise reduction and recyclable materials
- customer experience including improving access and accessibility, optimising journey times, improved information systems, on-board and station connectivity, passenger comfort, analysis of customer feedback
- railway operations including improved dwell time at stations, optimised freight planning, better recovery from disruption, better information for frontline staff, real-time decision-making assistance, use of robotics to improve safety and security
- optimised and cost-effective maintenance including use of automation and robotics, automated cleaning, on-site maintenance of rolling stock, improved reporting of failures
Project teams should include the owner of stations, rolling stock or infrastructure, an experienced railway organisation and an organisation that could become a customer.
- the competition opens on 13 January 2020, and the closing date is at midday on 11 March 2020
- organisations of any size may apply
- we expect projects to be awarded contracts of between £100,000 and £400,000
- briefing events for potential applicants take place in London on 21 January 2020 and online on 21 January, Manchester on 23 January 2020, and Cardiff on 29 January 2020
Latest News from
CAVForth: creating Europe's first full-sized autonomous bus08/09/2020 09:10:00
The project has been part-funded by £4.5 million from the government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK.
5StarS: developing a security framework for autonomous and connected vehicles07/09/2020 15:38:00
Government funds project to develop an automotive cybersecurity assurance framework.
MuCCA: government-backed collision avoidance system achieves world first07/09/2020 13:33:00
Demonstration of collision avoidance system sees 2 vehicles steer around stationary car without human assistance.
Aurrigo makes breakthrough in driverless pods technology07/09/2020 12:25:00
Coventry-based company has also created new jobs to meet global demand for driverless pods.
Humandrive: vehicle completes 230 mile, self-navigated drive across the UK07/09/2020 09:10:00
Government-backed autonomous vehicles project has achieved its goal of sending a Nissan LEAF on a self-navigated 'Grand Drive'.
Innovate UK launches four-year design strategy21/08/2020 09:10:00
The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, yesterday published a strategy that seeks to encourage and support excellent design in innovation.
Foundation industries: building a resilient recovery: apply for funding06/08/2020 09:10:00
UK-registered businesses can apply for a share of £8 million in grant funding for projects supporting the recovery and growth of foundation industries.
Innovative nuclear competition launch – are you ready for the challenge?28/07/2020 09:12:00
A £3.9 million competition was launched yesterday to find innovative ways to sort and segregate radioactive waste at some of the UK’s oldest nuclear sites.