The CRC for Rail Innovation recognises the importance of investing in the future of collaborative research.

To date, the CRC has awarded 77 CRC Research Scholarships to PhD and Masters Candidates across our seven partner universities to enable post graduate students to carry out further research in topics that span all of our themes. Many of the student topics are aligned to our CRC projects.

To gain an appreciation of the breadth of this research, click on the names below to learn more.

Smart Technology

Dr Indu Bala Wadhawan - Pickup and delivery with queuing.

PhD Thesis Abstract - University of South Australia

Trucks and trains both play a significant role in transporting bulk commodities, such as mineral ores from mines to ports or grain from rural silos to ports and mills. Rail has significant advantages over road: it can transport large quantities in a single trip, it is energy-efficient, and it reduces the number of large vehicles on public roads. The main disadvantage of rail is its lack of flexibility. For this reason, rail has lost much of the freight business to road transport. Particularly for seasonal grain transport, it is not feasible to have dedicated trains infrastructure sitting idle for much of the years. Because of this, the number of trains available to move grain and the capacity of loading and unloading facilities will always impose severe constraints on the logistics of moving grain from terminals to the ports. Furthermore, variations in the timing and yield of the harvest—overall and by region—will mean that rather than planning trains weeks in advance, as is usual for general freight, train planners need to be much more flexible in their allocation of a limited number of trains to service rural terminals.


The aim of my research was to develop practical techniques that can be used to schedule the pickup and delivery of bulk commodities, particularly in situations where the loading and unloading facilities have limited capacity and so vehicles may have to queue at sources and destinations.


The thesis addresses problems where the trip requests are known in advance, but the methods can be used to solve problems where new trip requests arrives. The distinguishing feature of the problem is that the goods are already available for collection from the sources and can be collected in any order—there are no overflow or underflow constraints. The aim is usually to move the goods from sources to destinations as quickly as possible, though other objectives are also possible.


Traditionally, pickup and delivery problems have been formulated as Mixed Integer Programs and solved using a variety of exact and approximate methods. We did not find any formulations that included queuing of vehicles at sources or destinations.
In this thesis we formulate the problem of pickup and delivery with queuing, and solve it using a variety of techniques. We define a dispatch procedure that can be used to determine a unique vehicle schedule from a sequence of trip request; the problem then becomes to find the permutation of trip requests that minimises the time taken to complete the task, or some other objective. Enumeration of all possible trip sequences and Mixed Integer Programming can be used to find exact solutions for small problems. For larger problems, we use Genetic Algorithms and Cross Entropy Optimisation to solve the problem.


Wadhawan, I (2012) Pickup and delivery with queueing (Doctoral Dissertation, University of South Australia, 2012) Retrieved from Trove.

Janette Rose - Situation awareness and the effects of new technologies on the train driving task in long-haul operations.

PhD candidate - University of South Australia

The benefits of new technologies are widespread throughout the rail industry, both in Australia and overseas, however, there is also the potential for technologies to have unforeseen negative consequences, which may include detrimental effects on safety and performance. It is essential, therefore, to be aware of these potential negative consequences before any major commitments are made with regard to implementing a new technology. One of the most influential factors in performance and safety is situation awareness. To date, a task analysis of the long-haul train driving task has been compiled and used to demonstrate how task analysis can be used to evaluate an in-cab information support technology, based on situation awareness requirements. Simulator studies are being conducted to test a new subjective measure of situation awareness specifically designed for train drivers. If shown to be efficacious, this new measure would be useful in measuring the effects of new technologies on situation awareness for use in both simulators and the natural environment.

Aligned to project Human Factors Analytical Tools

Tiago Dias Camacho - Towards Increased Engagement of Rail Passengers through Passenger Oriented Services.

PhD Candidate - Queensland University of Technology

As people needs continue to evolve, determining on which concrete aspects to concentrate to improve rail transportation is a challenge. Despite the technological advancements seen throughout the years in the rail industry - such as the introduction of sensors and Wi-Fi systems - most services provided to passengers are still too logistic oriented and not really passenger oriented. As such, we propose to exploit the vast amount of data made available to rail operators along with the proliferation of mobile devices, in order to introduce innovative services that contribute to increased engagement and involvement levels of passengers while they travel. Hypothetically, such intervention will translate into improved travel experiences and perceptions and consequently contribute to favourable attitudes towards the use and recommendation of rail systems.