HackTrain 3.0 harnesses big data to drive innovation

HackTrain 3.0 harnesses big data to drive innovation

On November 4-6 HackTrain 3.0 saw over one hundred top developers, designers, and entrepreneurs come together to build apps, websites, and hardware to tackle some of the biggest challenges in the railway industry today.

HackTrain host the railway industry’s ‘hackathon’ – a concept made popular in Silicon Valley – for a dedicated time of collaborative programming and innovating to find solutions to the industry’s latest and most pressing challenges.

HackTrain identified a number of current core challenges that the railway industry is facing, and provided participants with key datasets to harness as they worked on groundbreaking solutions.

The HackTrain hackathon is supported by the Department for Transport (DfT), and backed by numerous companies in the railway industry, including HS2, SilverRail, Trainline, BAE Systems, and Eurostar.

Delegates broke into teams to develop a new solution, drawing on the datasets, which was then presented to a panel of judges. The winning product was ‘FlexRail’ – a booking system that allows passengers to select a range of times that they are available to travel, rather than a single fixed time.

The FlexRail system allows passengers to choose a range of travel times, and then sends a notification 24 hours before their journey informing them which train they have been allocated. This allows train operators to distribute the number of passengers evenly across multiple services, thereby creating a more comfortable passenger experience. FlexRail’s co-founder Sina Shamshiri claimed that the system would be able to power sites such as Trainline or Eurostar.

HackTrain will continue to work with the hackathon participants in the coming months, helping innovations such as FlexRail to be implemented in the industry.

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