In April 2019, RSSB launched a £1.3m call for research (co-funded by Network Rail) to fund demonstrators and feasibility studies that explore data-driven approaches to operational performance challenges. This competition built on the original Data Sandbox initiative that awarded funding to five projects that demonstrated how machine learning, graph theory and data analytics can be used to make accurate predictions about the impact of reactionary delays and dwell time variations. 

The Data Sandbox+ competition, which has been run in collaboration with Network Rail, had two rounds of applications. Four projects that offer novel and innovative solutions for improving service reliability and punctuality, were funded through Round 1 and moved into delivery in 2019. Three new projects were awarded funding through Round 2 and moved into delivery in 2020.

To mark the announcement of the new projects on 9 June 2020, Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail Minister met with Mark Phillips, RSSB CEO, and the project leads of two Data Sandbox+ projects from round one, led by Zipabout and RiskSolutions. The Minister and Mark Phillips engaged in conversations about the wider Data Sandbox+ initiative and observed demonstrations from the two projects. Mark Phillips emphasised the importance for rail to realise its data potential and the need for greater data and information sharing amongst industry.

Find out more about the projects by clicking on the project cards below, or find information about the initiative on SPARK.

Cross-project collaboration

On 16 January 2020, the project teams funded through Round 1 had an opportunity to meet, network and discuss possible synergies at the RSSB offices in London. 

Presentations from the day are available here: 

For any questions, please email: