Network for Innovative Sustainable Transportation Co-Simulation

The Network for Innovative Sustainable Transportation Co-Simulation (NIST-CS) is an N8-funded community with the goal of establishing a network of researchers studying the application of collaborative-simulation (co-simulation) capabilities in sustainable transport applications across the North of England.


The objectives of NIST-CS are to:

  1. Establish a core network of established and early career researchers working in mobility simulation
  2. Engage with industry and policy-makers to identify key use cases for collaborative simulation
  3. Broaden the network to share knowledge across the wider N8 simulation and transport community
  4. Identify opportunities and outcomes for onward collaboration

We look across all transport modes (road, rail, maritime, urban planning, active travel) and across a range of simulation techniques, to deliver a range of outcomes (engineering design, optimisation, human-systems integration, policy and planning).

Core Members

Community Leads: Dr Zhongbei Tian (Liverpool) and Dr David Golightly (Newcastle)

Theme 1 – Operation and control: Dr Zhiyuan Lin (Leeds)

Theme 2 – Power and infrastructure: Dr Zhongbei Tian (Liverpool)

Theme 3 – Human performance and behavior: Dr David Golightly (Newcastle)

Theme 4 – Planning, governance and policy: Dr Alex Nurse (Liverpool)

Industry network lead: Victoria O’Kelly (Liverpool)

ECR representatives: Dr Jin Liu (Leeds) and Miss Nutthaka Chinomi (Liverpool)

News and Events

Collaborative Simulation for Transport Decarbonisation Symposium

25th Jun 2024, Stephenson Building, Newcastle University, NE1 7RU

Collaborative Simulation for Transport Decarbonisation is a free 1-day symposium at the intersection of dynamic simulation, transport decarbonisation, and collaborative simulation. Our aim is to showcase the diverse range of dynamic models that might contribute to tackling transport decarbonisation problems. We also aim to expand the knowledge base on approaches such as collaborative simulation, and demonstrate how different simulations and skills sets can work together to achieve decarbonisation benefits. Our ambition is to establish a knowledge-sharing network across the N8 universities, and beyond, exchanging models and best practice for co-simulation in transport decarbonisation, and fostering future collaborations.

The symposium will be of particular interest to:

  • Computer Science researchers and practitioners simulation transport problems
  • Engineering researchers and practitioners looking to rapidly integrate and exchange simulations
  • Behavioural and human factors researchers, understanding how transport decarbonisation simulation can reflect human behaviour
  • Transport operators and policy makers, understanding how simulation can support their decisions

Outline agenda

  • Introduction to Co-Simulation, with examples from ‘Network for Innovative Sustainable Transportation Co-Simulation (NIST-CS)’
  • Panel discussion – Industry challenges for co-simulation and transport decarbonisation
  • Early career research and breaking research
  • Knowledge exchange and agenda setting for collaborative simulation
  • Drinks and networking

Present your work

We invite short presentations on current work in simulation of transport decarbonisation, or examples of co-simulation (with or without a decarbonisation element). Areas such as battery applications and electrification, power optimisation, transport operations management, active travel are all welcome as is any form of simulation (e.g. MATLAB, BIM, agent-based modelling).

We particularly welcome early career researchers from the N8 universities and have funds to support travel.

How to take part?

Register your interest in attending.

Past events

NIST-CS hosted a series of in-person and virtual events during Autumn 2022. Each event presented work from NIST-CS, as well as keynotes from the wider research and industry community. The events explored different aspects of simulation for transport, shared knowledge and experience, and helped to understand benefits, challenges and capabilities of simulation to address transport challenges

Date and format Topic and themes
20 September 2022

10:00 – 12:00


Chairs: Zhiyuan Lin (Leeds) and Prof Ronghui Liu (Leeds)

  • Exchange established research on transport operation and its simulation strategies within and outside N8 universities.
  • Bridging researchers in transport operation with industries, identifying key demands and challenges of stakeholders.
  • Engaging more members into this network from both academia and industry.
  • Try to identify future roadmap for common targets of transportation system using potential co-simulation approaches and target future funding opportunities based on the collaboration established in the network.

Speakers and topics:

  • Dr Zhongbei Tian (University of Liverpool) – ‘Opening welcome – Introduction of NIST-CS’
  • Prof Ronghui Liu (Universit of Leeds) – ‘Research from the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS), University of Leeds’
  • Dr Burak Boyacı (Lancaster University) – ‘User flexibility in carsharing systems’
  • Dr Zhiyuan Lin & Dr Jin Liu (University of Leeds) – ‘Train timetable rescheduling and rolling stock scheduling in UK railway network
  • Dr Yuanjun Feng (University of Liverpool) – ‘The stochastic container relocation problem with flexible service policies’
  • Dr Gemma Nicholson (University of Birmingham) – ‘Timetable and automated driving impact on resilience of high speed railways’
  • Ian Smith (Tracsis Rail Consultancy) – ‘Innovation projects from Tracsis
4 October 2022

10:00 – 12:00


Chairs: Dr Zhongbei Tian (Liverpool) and Prof David Fletcher (Sheffield)

  • Put together a consortium to discuss the recent innovative industry and academic projects in sustainable transport power systems
  • Renewable energy sources and energy storage for railway, road and maritime, and air transport
  • Collaborate with EPSRC Decarbonising Transport through Electrification (DTE) Network+ to identify the future challenges and opportunities
  • Group discussion: Opportunities and challenges for Power and infrastructure in sustainable transport

Confirmed speakers and topics:

  • Prof Liana Cipcigan (Cardiff University) – ‘EPSRC DTE Network+, A whole system approach’
  • Prof Andrew Cruden (University of Southampton) – ‘Future Electric Vehicle Energy networks supporting Renewables’
  • Dr Zhongbei Tian (University of Liverpool) – ‘Renewably Powered Railway – a case study of Merseyrail’
  • Noel Dolphin (Furrer+Frey) – ‘Transport electrification and charging infrastructure’
  • Prof David Fletcher (University of Sheffield) – Panel discussion: Roadmap to transport power systems decarbonization
  • TBC (ScottishPower Energy Networks)
  • TBC (Merseytravel)
20 October 2022
09:30 – 16:00

Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre


Chairs: Dr Zhongbei Tian (Liverpool), Dr Alex Nurse (Liverpool) and Victoria O’Kelly (Liverpool)

Draft Agenda

  • 9:30-10:00 – Registration and welcome
  • 10:00-10:20 – Keynote: Claire Spooner, Head of Decarbonising Transport, EPSRC
  • 10:20-11:30 – Academic session (Chair: Dr Alex Nurse, University of Liverpool)
    • 10:20-10:35 Prof Joseph Spencer, University of Liverpool, ‘Liverpool 5G and energy technologies’
    • 10:35-10:50 Prof Tolga Bektas, University of Liverpool, ‘Transport simulation and decarbonisation’
    • 10:50-11:05 Dr Pietro Tricoli, University of Birmingham, ‘Smart power systems for maritime decarbonisation’
    • 11:05-11:20 Prof Panos Georgakis, University of Wolverhampton, ‘Collaborative modelling and simulation framework for urban logistics’
    • Panel discussion
  • 11:30-12:00 – Refreshment break and networking
  • 12:00-13:00 – Industry session (Chair: Victoria O’Kelly, University of Liverpool)
    • 12:00-12:15 Matthew Goggins, Assistant Director for Bus at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
    • 12:15-12:30 Francesco Sandrelli, Bibby Marine, ‘Bibby Marine Environmental Initiatives directed to reduce our Environmental Emissions/Impacts’
    • 12:30-12:45 David Powell, Merseytravel Programme Director – Rolling Stock
    • 12:45-13:00 Melanie Hockenhull, Head of Sustainability at Avanti West Coast, ‘Current challenges in transport sustainability’
    • Panel discussion
  • 13:00-14:00 – Lunch and networking
  • 14:00-15:30 – Innovation case studies (Chair: Dr Zhongbei Tian, University of Liverpool)
    • 14:00-14:15 Prof Stuart Hillmansen, University of Birmingham, ‘Hydrogen for transport decarbonisation’
    • 14:15-14:30 Dr Cagatay Iris, University of Liverpool, ‘Decarbonisation and energy management in maritime logistics’
    • 14:30-14:45 Dr Chia-Lin Chen, University of Liverpool, ‘Reflection on the wider impacts of rail for a Sustainable Mobility Future’
    • 14:45-15:00 Mr Huw Thomas, Durham University, ‘Studying the impacts of domestic solar PV penetration and battery storage capacity on the maximum capacity of electric vehicles in low-voltage distribution networks’
    • 15:00-15:15 Mr Jonathan Harding, University of Liverpool, ‘Emerging plasma technology for the decentralised production of green fuels’
    • 15:15-15:30 Dr Zhongbei Tian, University of Liverpool, ‘Renewable railway energy management’
    • Panel discussion
  • 15:30-15:40 – Closing remarks
  • 15:40-17:00 – Drinks and networking

24 – 28 July 2023

University of Birmingham


2023 Birmingham Decarbonisation Summer School

NIST-CS co-organised and co-sponsoered the event with ERAC-DICERicardo plcBirmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) and the University of Birmingham IEEE Student Branch.


Claire Sponer (Head of Decarbonising Transport, EPSRC) keynote talk at the NIST-CS Workshop on 20 October 2022 in Liverpool:

Download: Claire Spooner presentation slides (PDF)

Current partners

Academic Partners

  • University of Liverpool
  • Newcastle University
  • Durham University
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of York
  • University of Birmingham
  • Cardiff University

Industry Partners

  • Merseytravel
  • Ricardo
  • Riding Sunbeams
  • Tracsis Rail Consultancy


If you would like more information or are interested in joining the community, please contact the NIST-CS Community Leads:

Dr Zhongbei Tian:

Dr David Golightly: