‘Intelligent Virtual Network’ – modelling railway network connectivity, reliability and capacity
Supervisors: David Fletcher & Professor Rob Harrison

This research focuses on developing a ‘virtual transport network’ for trialling ways to improve railway transport through better understanding of network connectivity, reliability and capacity. Improving rail network performance requires answers to many questions, such as:

• Defining the risks which affect network performance
• Modelling how these risks combine to determine system performance
• Identifying the technical and commercial constraints on performance
• Developing ways the vulnerabilities and risks to the network can be reduced

Trialling potential changes to the rail network on the live system could cause huge disruption. In this project research will be conducted to develop a standard, validated, virtual rail network as a simulation tool - a framework within which traffic management strategies and equipment (infrastructure, signalling, vehicles) of differing characteristics and reliability can be tested and compared.

A strong mathematical background, and an ability and interest in programming (e.g. Matlab or C) will is desirable. Methods may include autonomous agent modelling, graphical modelling and game theory, and will build on existing research regarding network optimisation for time keeping and energy use reduction.

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