Data-driven Approaches to Improving Reliability and Punctuality

The Data Sandbox+ competition, in partnership with Network Rail, is funding projects that demonstrate novel solutions for improving the running of the railway.

Leveraging the data collected by the rail industry is vital to improving services and the customer experience. With Data Sandbox+, we are helping to make data accessible to those who can develop solutions to improve operational performance.

Three of the Data Sandbox+ projects build on successful work undertaken as part of the original competition, launched in 2017 and completed earlier this year:

  • Risk Solutions, in collaboration with Steer, Tracsis, City University, Heriot-Watt University and the University of Southampton, will produce a rail incident simulation and performance modelling application to support strategic decision-making. It aims to help operators understand the root causes of delays, test new timetables, and measure the benefits of delay-reduction strategies
  • Porterbrook, in collaboration with ScotRail, the University of Southampton and Elastacloud, will build and demonstrate software that can be used to analyse data from sensors on ScotRail Class 158s. Given the high percentage of delays attributed to dwell time, the tool will assess the impact of train door performance or external factors, on dwell, and identify opportunities to minimise delays.
  • The University of Southampton, in collaboration with Network Rail and Bellvedi/Tracsis, will investigate the timetabling process. This is to identify the causes of small, timetable- related primary and secondary delays that could be reduced or eliminated.

Another project proposes a new data-driven solution:

  • Zipabout, in collaboration with the University of Birmingham and London North Eastern Railway, will use dynamic and flexible data- driven approaches to predicting delays. The project will use real- time machine-learning models to deliver personalised information to passengers, helping to spread passenger load across the network and minimise the impact of incidents.

Get involved

Find out more about the teams and projects – and how to apply for funding as part of round two of the competition.

If you are interested in helping to steer the direction of the work by joining the industry advisory group for one of these projects, contact Giulia Lorenzini.

Haven’t found what you’re looking for?
Get in touch with our Senior Partnership and Grants Manager for further information.
Giulia Lorenzini
Tel: 020 3142 5434
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