Bristol Temple Meads to become UK’s first Station Innovation Zone

Posted: 19 October 2022 | | No comments yet

Network Rail and Connected Places Catapult’s new partnership will see Bristol’s iconic train station host trials of new technologies designed to improve various aspects of the passenger experience.

Bristol Temple Meads to become UK’s first Station Innovation Zone

Credit: Network Rail

Network Rail has announced that Bristol Temple Meads train station will be hosting trials of innovative passenger technologies, as part of its new partnership with Connected Places Catapult.

Millions of pounds of Innovate UK funding is being directed by the Catapult into the programme, which sees Bristol’s iconic station named as the UK’s first Station Innovation Zone. The five-year programme will pioneer the approach, and plans are in place to roll-out the model to other stations as it succeeds.

The programme is selecting start-ups aiming to test new ways to improve various aspects of the passenger experience: from making journeys smoother with smart ticketing, to making stations more accessible with wayfinding apps; from using AI to improve people flow, to designing better facilities using human-centred design principles.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Connected Places Catapult on this new programme which will provide SMEs with crucial funding opportunities and Network Rail with new, innovative ideas on how to further enhance the experience of our passengers,” said Francis McGarry, Network Rail Wales & Western region Investment Director. “We are committed to developing Bristol Temple Meads into a world class transport hub for the benefit of our passengers, the city of Bristol and wider West of England region, so it is fitting Bristol Temple Meads has been chosen as the UK’s first Station Innovation Zone.”

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Nicola Yates OBE, CEO of Connected Places Catapult, said: “Partnering with Network Rail to create a multi-year Station Innovation Zone in Bristol’s vibrant Temple Quarter will enable us to support numerous small companies in navigating these challenges and benefit passengers’ experience of the station.”

Applications have opened for start-ups with ideas that could be trialled in the Station Innovation Zone. Passengers are likely to see the first trials beginning in early 2023.

This announcement of the Station Innovation Zone follows the UK government’s levelling-up announcement of £95 million for the Bristol Temple Quarter regeneration programme. Around £60 million of the funding from government will enable improvements in and around Bristol Temple Meads Station, including three new entrances, as well as infrastructure works and new public spaces nearby.