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HackTrain winner handed £25,000 to tackle rail disruption

Senior representatives from major operators and the Department for Transport have named the three winning groups from a pool of 120 candidates that took part in HackTrain’s two-day competition to improve the rail industry.

The top winner, ‘Disruption Feed’, has been given £25,000 to invest in their start-up company through the HackTrain Accelerator Programme, which kicks off in the new year.

Rail minister Claire Perry said: “I am delighted with the enthusiasm and focus with which the participants and the rail industry have approached this Hackathon. It is vital that we all, government, the rail industry and innovators, continue to explore fresh approaches and problems faced by the increasing demand on our railways.

“I look forward to seeing how their ideas will continue to develop into solutions we can implement.”

The winning group devised a solution to rail travelling by restructuring existing information about disruption to make it machine readable and analysable. Applying their structure to industry disruption information will allow developers to build better tools for customers to negotiate disruption.

Their solution also includes a basic prototype visualisation tool (route map) that displays the areas affected by disruption based on the output from data produced using the new system. The map itself was not “aesthetically strong”, but the underlying technical solution to link the data feed into the visual output was fully functional.

‘Trainlicious’ and ‘Ticket’, two other groups, were chosen as runner-up and third place respectively.

The first produced an app that would allow TOCs and customers to see where seats are available in real time by using data from CCTV in carriages combined with face and body recognition software.

The latter created an app designed to scan orange travelling tickets or QR codes to help customers understand which trains they can travel on with their ticket.

HackTrain, which took place in November, saw more than 100 innovators travel up and down the country’s rail network looking for cost-effective solutions to industry challenges ahead of presenting ideas to the rail minister this month.

The 48-hour event is a nationwide private sector but government-supported initiative, designed to make the rail industry more innovative and effective through the help of software developers, designers and entrepreneurs from across the globe.


Lutz   15/12/2015 at 18:12

Perhaps next year someone can come up with an open source TMS - perhaps taking a warehouse management system as the starting point.

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