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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information

Studying at Cambridge

Research and modelling tools

CSIC’s modelling tools focus on transport, urban development and urban regeneration initiatives from the national to the city and local neighbourhood scale.


National scale: fast simulation algorithm that retains local details

We have incorporated rigourous economic theory into adaptive zoning - a highly efficient computer-modelling algorithm. This allows quantification of costs and benefits of investment and regulatory decisions to inform policy impact assessment.

Benefits and application:

  • it is capable of modelling travel demand and road traffic at national scale
  • it retains high levels of relevant local details for each origin and destinations assessed
  • it cuts the computer model run time by up to 10 times while improving the precision of model results
  • it can be used by the central government agencies to assess national level infrastructure and development plans such as the strategic road and rail networks. It can also be applied by local authorities to test alternative schemes to unblock local bottlenecks which are used simultaneously by local and inter-regional traffic



City scale: new analytics from historic data

CSIC has developed new ways of examining historic data to uncover and quantify the evolution of urban land use development, transport investment and regulatory measures.

Our work has enabled us to evolve different types of land use, roads, intersections, rail lines and stations, tube lines and stations, and provides the evidence to calibrate robust forecasting models for new infrastructure and development plans.

This work will assist major infrastructure scheme promoters to examine and prioritise investment options under the new Infrastructure Planning Framework.

sa-vz-foursquareCrowd-sensing and crowd-sourcing: transforming the way we monitor infrastructure use

Our work focuses on crowd-sensing and crowd-sourcing. Using open social media data such as Twitter and Foursquare, along with new urban sensors in collaboration with infrastructure developers, we are able to add a new, emerging dimension to our knowledge of transport demand and urban land use.

At London Bridge Station, we are collaborating with Network Rail and Costain to test multiple pedestrian flow monitoring techniques for preventing undesirable crowding conditions inside the station. This will establish patterns of pedestrian distribution for providing effective services in and around the station, particularly at rush hour and during scheduled events.

sa-london-bridge-bsi-shard Working with BSi and Smart Cities Advisory Group:

CSIC works with the British Standards Institution (BSi) and the Smart Cities Advisory Group, and we feed our new research directly into the development of a novel, over-arching level of smart city standards. The aim is specifically to help cities better integrate planning and design of physical infrastructure with digital data services in order to improve the quality of services while cutting costs and natural resource requirements.

These standards aim to

  • understand current gaps in the knowledge of good infrastructure development practice in particularly challenging locations, such as around rail and metro stations, where the barriers to infrastructure construction and upgrade are high and potential benefits are numerous   
  • contribute to the development of the new urban development and infrastructure planning practices
  • provide information to city leaders and distil current good practices into a set of consistent and repeatable patterns. This will allow leaders to develop, agree and deliver smart city strategies that can transform their cities’ ability to meet future challenges and deliver policy aspirations 

sa-crossrail-tcr-figureProject site scale: developing new standards through good practice

Our focus here has been to learn from good practice in integrating urban infrastructure surrounding main urban rail and underground stations.

We have initiated three case studies:

  • King’s Cross Central redevelopment 
  • CrossRail station pedestrian catchments - particularly at Tottenham Court Road
  • London Bridge Station’s surrounding redevelopment initiatives


  • through the case studies we monitor how improved infrastructure and design at these sites reap social as well as economic benefits
  • the work has highlighted the importance of assimilating good practice into guidance and new standards for smart cities (see case studies)
  • we intend to use these studies to examine what has worked and develop recommendations across UK cities.

 To read more about our case studies and projects click here

Cities & infrastructure systems