UK rail turns to artificial intelligence

Tech company nPlan is said to have agreed to a deal to provide its Artificial Intelligence (AI) forecasting and risk management services to Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU), a multi-billion-pound programme of improvements which will transform the railway between York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester.

The company’s deal with TRU is said to allow them to analyse more project schedules, more frequently, and get more meaningful insights and accurate forecasts. Following a ramping-up period, the company says that TRU intends to use nPlan rather than quantitative schedule risk analysis (QSRA) across its entire programme of works.      

nPlan says that their outputs are generated by parsing large volumes of historical project data with AI. At the start of each engagement, they gather the customer’s past project schedules and uses an AI technique known as Deep Learning (DL) to build a model which reflects how the customer executes projects.

Richard Palczynski, head of Strategic Programme Controls at TRU, commented, “The Transpennine Route Upgrade is an ambitious and complex multi-year programme. Getting the right forecasting and risk management capabilities in place will be critical to finishing on time, on budget, and with the minimum possible disruption to passengers.

“With nPlan as a delivery partner, we’re able to take a new approach to analysing our schedules - removing the human bias in favour of learning from actual data and historical performance - and driving efficiency into the process.”

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