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Innovative Development of Platform Train Interface Hardware.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr C Johnson
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Reference Number: CIJ-2018-1-PhD

Project Summary:
This research will look into developing realistic and adaptable technologies for improving the platform train interface for those with a disability or impairment. It will consider using origami in structural applications and will include control mechanisms that must meet relevant safety integrity levels and railway standards.

Specific Requirements of the Project

Applicants should hold a higher-class degree in mechanical or mechatronic engineering with a good understanding of control theory. Knowledge or experience of the rail industry is not essential but desirable.

Applications will be expected to talk through a related project in which mechanical design (using appropriate modeling software such as Solidworks, NX CAD, Autodesk, etc.) was implemented and appropriate scientific testing methods were applied. Applicants will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the design process and indicated an appropriate methodology in which to progress the work.

Project Aims and Objectives

Incidents at the platform train interface (PTI) account for almost half of the total passenger fatality risk on the mainline railway network, and about one-fifth of the overall passenger fatality and weighted injury (FWI) risk (RSSB 2015). Clearance and gauging issues prevent viable solutions being implemented on rail vehicles and Victorian era infrastructure often prevent alternative and often costly solutions being adopted in platform redevelopment.

This proposed research aims to developed realistic and adaptable technologies making use of origami in structural applications to resolve PTI issues. It will need to consider the biomechanics of those with disabilities or impairment, relevant safety integrity levels and railway standards and psychological influences of users within a railway environment. A key objective will be development of a design framework that can be applied to many of the UK platforms where restrictions prevent reasonable solutions being sought.

Within an early stage of the research the causal factors and mitigations that can be implemented will be reviewed and an improved understanding of the biomechanics of those with disabilities or impairment will be developed. This will be followed by a comprehensive review of the physiological influences of users within a railway environment and an approach to introducing cultural change within the industry. A solution for various problematic arenas in the north west can be sought such as Deansgate and Oxford Road station. This will entail the development of innovative PTI hardware potentially capitalising on origami in structural applications. Finally, to reduce risks, and optimise operational performance and availability of access, in a manner that promotes the long-term best interests of the mainline railway system a design framework can be developed and proposed.

The “Risk at the platform-train interface” ( published by Rail Safety and Standards Board 2013 will provide a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved and an applicant should also review RAIB reports on rail accidents to gain an understanding of the cultural requirements behind the project.

A review of Rail Industry Standard RIS-3703-TOM ( Iss 3.pdf) is also recommended.

Project is open to: Home/EU and overseas

Informal enquiries can be made to
Tel: 0161 247 1653
Email: [Email Address Removed]

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