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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information
Setting Standards in Rail-Led Urban Innovation

CSIC jointly convened a specialist workshop on rail-led urban innovation with the UK Science and Innovation Network (British Consulate General) in San Francisco, with industry sponsorship from AECOM and Arup.


The workshop considered novel examples to reshape cities in London, Tokyo, New York and San Francisco. The outcomes will be published as a key reference for building consensus in maximising the societal benefits of rail investment and set new standards for emerging high density areas around train and metro stations.

More than a century since they were established as a means of urban transport, rail and metro have secured a new role in promoting growth, prosperity and sustainability. Within G7, rail investment has been rising by 7% a year since 1995, and now stands at just under a third of annual capital spend on land transport. In emerging economies, new metro and high-speed rail are generating potential for major growth. However, regeneration and redevelopment projects around stations are among the most difficult and risky to undertake, and there are only a handful of successful examples around the world.

CSIC Director Dr Jennifer Schooling and Co-Investigator Dr Ying Jin were among 25 speakers and chairs at the workshop, which provided a rare opportunity for experts to hear the first-hand experience of successful major project delivery and examine common lessons that can help reshape major cities around the globe.

The workshop engages closely with major industry players, government agencies and standard setters. Dan Palmer, Head of Market Development at the British Standards Institute (BSi), said: “The work done by CSIC in relation to case studies and transport developments will be directly relevant to the forthcoming BSI publication PD 8101 on planning for smart cities. Some aspects of the work should also be relevant to future standards projects related to economic assessment and funding of smart city initiatives. BSi sees continued collaboration with CSIC as a valuable means of ensuring that the knowledge embedded in the standards programme has a firm academic basis.”

Workshop convenor Dr Ying Jin said: “We’re heartened by the enthusiasm as well as the brilliant material the delegates brought to the workshop. The aim of our research is to turn the high art of rail-led city-making into repeatable solutions that can benefit all cities connected by rail and metro, through the development of new ground rules.”



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