Organisations can now apply for a share of up to £9.4m to show how new technologies could improve rail access for passengers and operators.
One of the criteria set out in the plan, details how the money can be spent on improve disability access to the UK’s rail network.
It details how the projects must use new technology in the 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.
It sets out how 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
The competition opens on January 13 and closes on March 11.
It is expected that projects will be awarded contracts of between £100,000 and £400,000.
A charity in December called on the government to make improving rail accessibility a priority.
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