Centre for Earth Systems Engineering Research

Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium

Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium

ITRC is a £6m research programme. Its aim is to develop and demonstrate a new generation of simulation models and tools. These will inform the analysis, planning and design of national infrastructure.


  1. Analysing the long term state of NI systems.
  2. Quantifying and understanding uncertainties e.g. in demand, economic conditions, costs, performance.
  3. The complexity of multiple governance arrangements and projects.
  4. The capacity of UK industry to compete in globalised markets for infrastructure services.

We work in collaboration with: 

Find out more on the ITRC website.    ‌

CESER involvement

CESER are involved in three work streams of the ITRC project:

  • workstream 1
  • workstream 2
  • workstream 4

The enabling tools and database being developed at Newcastle as part of work stream 4 are used to facilitate research across other work streams. They help to integrate modelling undertaken in work stream 1. 

The analysis of interdependencies between national infrastructure networks is conducted in work stream 2. This uses custom databases and code developed at Newcastle.

Work Stream 1

Balancing infrastructure capacity and demand under uncertainty.

Work stream 1 is developing a generic modeling framework for the analysis of capacity and demand, under uncertainty, of 5 key national infrastructure networks. These are energy, transport, water, waste water and solid waste.

As part of this framework an open source, web-based data upload facility has be developed. This allows economic and population projections to be saved to the ITRC database. 

The economic and population projections were developed by Cambridge Econometrics and Leeds University respectively. They are used as inputs to each of the capacity and demand assessment modules (CDAMs) for each national infrastructure network. 

A data query tool has been developed to allow federated users to generate comma-separated files (.csv), graphs, charts and maps of the different variables contained within the economic and demographic projections.

We are also developing the national weather model for the consortium, and a national-scale water resources model. 

Work Stream 2

Understanding the future risks of infrastructure failure.

Work stream 2 is developing interdependent network models of the 5 key infrastructure sectors. It is modelling the impacts and risk of failure.

A custom database schema has been developed. This manages, stores and represents infrastructure networks, and their interdependencies. 

Each network has an edges, edge_geometry, and nodes table to store the edges and nodes of a particular network. 

An interdependency edge table stores the physical edges that exist between two different networks.

Work Stream 4

Enabling Tools.

Work stream 4 is focused on the design, development, delivery and management of a national-scale infrastructure asset database. 

It is also developing software tools that allow researchers and decision makers to interact with the outputs generated from the other work streams.

The ITRC database has been developed using the open source relational database software PostgreSQL. This is coupled with the spatial extension PostGIS. 

The data is organised into multiple database instances. Each storing data is relevant to a particular sector. 

The data has been collected from a wide range of public, academic and private data sources supplied by ITRC project partners. 

Data generated as part of the CDAMs is also stored within the ITRC database for archiving and future analysis purposes.

Databases have been created to store climate-related hazard data. They also store the population and economic projections used throughout work stream 1. 

Figure.5 illustrates an example of the National Grid Gas Transmission Network and the National Grid Electricity Transmission Network stored within the ITRC database. 

This data is visualised via the use of the open source tool Quantum GIS.