Winter update from ITRC-MISTRAL: our input into National Infrastructure Assessment, new EPSRC fellow, NISMOD 2 taking shape, events for 2018

news & updates, winter 2017


1. ITRC modelling underpins National Infrastructure Assessment

In October the National Infrastructure Commission published its interim National Infrastructure Assessment – ‘Congestion, Capacity, Carbon: priorities for national infrastructure’, sometimes known as the ‘vision and priorities’ report.

The report uses a number of future scenarios to build its vision of future infrastructure needs. These scenarios were created by the NIC, and then tested using ITRC’s national infrastructure systems model (NISMOD), alongside a number of other models already used by Government. ITRC’s team of modellers worked closely with their NIC counterparts so that NIC could use NISMOD’s novel approach to explore infrastructure interdependencies, particularly the link between transport and energy.

The NIC sets out its priorities based on seven main areas: building a digital society; connected, liveable city-regions; infrastructure to support housing; eliminating carbon emissions from energy and waste; a revolution in road transport; reducing the risk of drought and flooding; and funding infrastructure in efficient ways.

More information about NISMOD’s role in the National Infrastructure Assessment -

The technical annex to the NIC’s report contains more information about ITRC’s contribution -

‘Congestion, Capacity, Carbon: priorities for national infrastructure’  is available online and responses to this report are being invited. All comments should be submitted to the NIC by 12 January 2018 -


2. Version 2 of our National Infrastructure Systems MODel (NISMOD) takes shape

ITRC’s current work programme, MISTRAL, is developing a second version of ITRC’s unique National Infrastructure Systems MODel, NISMOD. NISMOD version 2, known as NISMOD2, is achieving the MISTRAL vision of providing high resolution modelling of national infrastructure everywhere in Britain, recognising that much of the innovation in infrastructure is taking place at local scales: in smart grids, distributed renewables, heat networks, electric vehicles, urban drainage and waste recycling.

In NISMOD2, we’ve mapped of all of Britain’s 25.7 million households and 5.2 million businesses, representing the infrastructure services they demand and the multi-scale networks through which these services are delivered. So far, the team has developed a new model of energy demand that brings together a modelled profile of every household in Britain and associates this with building types.

Other developments include: a higher resolution energy supply model, simulation of sewers and surface water flooding; and major steps in modelling Britain’s digital infrastructure. Good progress is also being made with the new NISMOD multi-modal transport model. Each of these developments is embedded within NISMOD2’s coupled modelling framework, called smif. We'll be demonstrating our new capabilities with interactive visualisations at our forthcoming showcase event - further details are below.


3. ITRC-MISTRAL showcase event - Save the date!
18 April 2018, ICE, Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA

This will be an opportunity to see the progress that ITRC-MISTRAL has made, and to see how our research is being used for business and policy applications.

More information will be on our website in the new year, and follow us on social media for updates: @UKITRC or


4. ITRC researcher receives prestigious Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) fellowship

Dr Maria Pregnolato is currently an ITRC-MISTRAL researcher, based at the University of Newcastle, and working on understanding infrastructure demand at the local level. She recently was awarded her PhD, and in March next year, she starts a 3-year EPSRC fellowship ‘Resilience of National Transport Networks to Flood-induced Bridge Failures’.

The fellowship – one of seven awarded from 80 proposals – offers scope for her continued participation with ITRC-MISTRAL, linking to themes of urban resilience and transport. Specifically this will include developing integrated flood/transport modelling, and working with ITRC colleagues to develop a UK bridge database within NISMOD-DB, similar to the one in use in the US.

The inspiration for the research proposal came from the idea of bridges making a point of connection, but also creating a point of vulnerability: forging a link that is once both essential and a risk. In the UK, most cities are built around and along rivers, dependent on bridges that carry transport, services and people, and so are often vulnerable to the impacts of flooding.

Maria will be working with a broad group of stakeholders, including the UK Government’s Department of Transport and ResilienceDirect (Cabinet Office), the engineering consultancy ARUP and local community groups. With this stakeholder involvement, she expects her research to enable these stakeholders and others to make better investment decisions for the provision of resilient transport links.

Maria can be contacted about her research at  
Information on the fellowship are at


5.    ITRC mini-assembly focuses on governance and stakeholder input

ITRC-MISTRAL organised a mini-assembly in Oxford in October. The meeting brought together researchers and representatives from some of our key stakeholders: from the utilities, from the Catapults and from the National Infrastructure Commission. The meeting helped to maintain a shared understanding of stakeholders’ requirements for the project, and also focused on developing a process for bringing together changes in governance with modelling of future infrastructure investment.

If you would like more details about the mini-assembly and what was discussed, please contact


6.    Consultation on the specification for DAFNI

DAFNI (the Data and Analytics Facility) was launched in July 2017. Since then, the DAFNI team have been consulting on the needs for this transformative new facility for infrastructure data, modelling and visualisation. An agile approach for software development has been adopted, with the ITRC’s NISMOD model being the first of DAFNI’s pilot demonstrations. At this event, the draft requirements specification for DAFNI will be presented. Participants will be encouraged to contribute their advice and views on the design of DAFNI’s transformative data, modelling, simulation and visualisation facilities. Ideas for future co-development projects, to run over the next three years, will also be invited.  

The event will take place on 16 January 2018 at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell, Oxon OX11 0QX.

Participants can see more information and register at

7.    Other events

Decision framing & uncertainty network workshop: what do decision-makers want from the analytical community?
27-28 February 2018, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR

Building on the successful workshop held in February 2016, Imperial College London has teamed up with Warwick University, London School of Economics, Lancaster University, E3G, UK Government and Anglian Water, and is hosting a workshop to develop a stronger understanding about what decision-makers want from the analytical community to help them make better decisions under uncertainty. The workshop will form the basis of an ongoing network which will seek to build a value proposition around decision-makers and the user community.

Those interested in attending should email Meera Shah on
February 2016 workshop information

With best wishes for Christmas & the new year.

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