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Rail innovations competition launched

Patrick McDonnell
25 September 2018

The DfT is offering grants to projects developing innovative ways of improving the railway network’s emission standards and passenger experience in rail stations. The First of a Kind (FOAK) competition, which is launched on 6 October and runs until 28 November, will award funding of between £250,000 and £350,000 to individual projects.

The competition, now in its second year, seeks ideas that can be adapted to improve the UK rail network. This second year of funding focuses on decarbonisation of the railway and customer experience. 

Ten projects have already secured funding from first round of grants. Innovative ideas to transform rail travel for passengers could be in line of the total £3.5m funding, said rail minister Jo Johnson.

The competition is run by Innovate UK and is part of the DfT’s wider Accelerating Innovation in Rail (AIR) scheme.

Johnson said: “There are many brilliant ideas already out there that, with just minor modifications, could help to transform rail journeys for passengers across the network.

“We want to hear from those companies whose projects fit this template, because we can offer them the grant funding to make that a reality.”

The ten projects to have already secured funding include a smartphone app that highlights landmarks on a journey in real-time and beacons that guide visually-impaired passengers through stations to their seats.

Innovate UK is particularly keen to hear about projects that can improve air quality in stations, reduce noise pollution, provide consistent and reliable information to passengers during periods of disruption and enhance accessibility for everyone, especially those with less visible impairments.

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