About us

The UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) is a collaboration of seven universities and over 55 partners from infrastructure policy and practice.

ITRC’s research provides concepts, models and evidence to inform the analysis, planning and design of resilient national, regional and local infrastructures (NI) across the globe.

We investigate infrastructure and its interdependencies in energy, digital communications, solid waste, transport, waste water, water supply and infrastructure governance.

We have developed the world’s first national infrastructure system-of-systems model, NISMOD, which has been used to analyse long-term investment strategies as well as risk and vulnerability in infrastructure networks nationally and globally.

Our purpose

ITRC-MISTRAL provides decision-makers with insights that hitherto have not been available to inform crucial questions.

  • How will infrastructure systems perform in the context of major future changes like population growth, technological change and climate change?
  • What would be the benefits of investing in new infrastructure capacity or of endeavouring to manage demand for infrastructure services?
  • Where are the most vulnerable points in infrastructure networks?
  • How much is it worth investing to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure?

Strategic aims and objective

We aim to change how strategic infrastructure planning, investment and design decisions are made.

  • Our national infrastructure system analytics inform decisions by governments, utilities and regulators at a range of scales in the UK, and will be used in infrastructure planning and design around the world
  • Our national infrastructure database will become a shared national resource and a focal point for research and industrial collaboration
  • We engage a wide range of stakeholders, including the general public, in understanding infrastructure performance and choices.

Challenge 1: The local complexity of national infrastructure

Our system-of-systems modelling covers communities and buildings to allow analysis of the implications of radical technological change, and to enable a transition to resilient infrastructure systems.

Challenge 2: National infrastructure in an inter-connected world

UK infrastructure is embedded in global networks of transport, energy and digital communications. Our research explores the risks and opportunities of this interconnectivity, simulating the links between the UK’s infrastructure and networks at continental and global scales to identify ways in which global network resilience can be enhanced.

Challenge 3: Transforming national infrastructure choices worldwide

We are developing our approach for use with national infrastructure assessments in countries worldwide, demonstrating this methodology in partnership with researchers and decision-makers.

Challenge 4: Quantifying the economic roles of infrastructure

To understand better the benefits and risks of infrastructure investment, we combine engineering systems modelling with economic thinking to quantify the relationships between infrastructure investment and regional/national economic growth.

Challenge 5: Infrastructure network risk & resilience analysis and economic impacts

MISTRAL explores the risk and opportunities of ever-greater connectivity and how network resilience can be enhanced in the global context. By providing quantified insights into the current and future performance of interdependent infrastructure networks, we enable prioritization of steps to enhance the resilience of infrastructure systems. We analyse natural hazard and climate risks as well as man-made risks in order to understand the potential economic and social disruption caused by infrastructure failures. That evidence then helps to build the business case for a strategic approach to adaptation.

The UK national infrastructure database and simulation platform

New visual analytics tools are being integrated into ITRC’s database (NISMOD-DB) to allow further investigation and interaction with the data. We will ‘open up’ the database to become a national hub for infrastructure systems research, taking into account licencing restrictions and security concerns.

NISMOD in a nutshell

Scenarios – how can the future look like?

  • population, demographics
  • economics
  • housing development
  • environmental
  • Manage uncertainty
  • Explore resilience

High resolution simulation models

  • energy supply – CGEN++
  • energy demand – HIRE
  • digital communications – CCAM
  • transport – ULTIMO
  • water supply – WATHNET-EW
  • simulation modelling integration
    framework (smif) integrates simulation models
  • Simulate performance
  • Explore decision strategies

Scaffolding

  • NISMOD-DB++ – database of results
  • DAFNI – massive parallel computational facility
  • Massive computation
  • Big data
  • Complex modelling