According to the Construction Enquirer, Network Rail has challenged both engineers and architects to radically rethink designs for rail footbridges.

Network Rail says that ideas for the next generation of fully accessible footbridges should be “innovative, challenge presumptions and raise expectations for the quality of future designs.” 

Network Rail's Footbridge Design ChallengeA RIBA design contest has now been launched that is open internationally to practising architects, structural engineers, civil engineers or even students. In developing their proposals, entrants are encouraged to consider how their accessible footbridge designs might be adapted for use in other settings such as at level crossings.

Network Rail owns just under 2,400 footbridges, providing access across the railway for both passengers at stations and people using rights of way. 

As part of the Department for Transport’s “Access for All” programme, Network Rail has installed 200 footbridges since 2006.

The AfA funding initiative was established to improve accessibility at railway stations through the creation of obstacle free routes from station entrances to platforms.  

The competition will be organised over a single phase, involving the anonymous submission and appraisal of design proposals. A Design Fund of £20,000 will be available for award at discretion of the judging panel to the submission, judged to be the best response to the challenges outlined in the Competition Brief

Network Rail's Footbridge Design ChallengeAnthony Dewar,  Head of Buildings and Architecture at Network Rail, said:  “We’re challenging the architectural and engineering community to come up with new and innovative ideas for footbridge structures that will be both functional in form and sympathetic to the communities that they serve.”

“The winning design concept will also need to protect and enhance the great legacy of engineering design that is inherent in railway history.  We’re excited to see the solutions that will be put forward.”

The competition was launched on 22 June 2018, with the deadline for design submissions commencing on 19 September 2018. The judging panel meeting will be Monday 8 October 2018.