Transport infrastructure and its environment do not exist in isolation. They are interconnected and interdependent. They have presence, property, and protection interfaces. Namely, where something is present, someone must own it, and its safe presence and operation must be maintained.

Figs.12 & 13, illustrate the interconnected and interdependent nature of the presence, property, and protection interfaces of railway-based infrastructure and their environment identified through the ongoing AIR research and application of the AIR processes. These photographs show the intermediate stages of urban redevelopment to create a 14 story building, with an 8 storey deep basement, directly adjacent to the London Underground District and Circle line (shaded red, labelled A, in Fig.13), located directly adjacent to the new basement wall.

Figs.12 & 13: showing the presence property and protection interfaces of the London Underground District line adjacent to a new urban development, Victoria Street, London, UK.

Within Fig.13, the coloured shading and hatching represents the property interfaces of:

  • Shaded red, labelled A - London Underground ownership of land and airspace;
  • Shaded light blue, labelled B  - The land and airspace owned by the developer;
  • Hatched red, labelled D - A right for London Underground to retain its tunnel within the subsoil of the landowner B;
  • Shaded green and labelled C - A second interfacing landowner adjacent to the railway.

Collectively, these presence, property, and protection interfaces were caused by and are enabled by legal, civil engineering, historical, geographical, transport and urban planning, and asset management processes. Thus, they require multi-disciplinary analysis, and data sharing, to ensure their safe presence and operation, now and for the future.

To assist understanding of interfaces, such as these, the AIR Research Project, within the Centre for Transport Research at the University of Aberdeen, UK, has developed standardised approaches to the analysis and sharing of data within transport infrastructure organisations and with their interfacing stakeholders. These approaches, contribute to:

  • organisational cost and time savings; 
  • the effective creation of, and amendment to, the interfaces between new transport infrastructure and its environment;
  • enhancement of the safe presence and operation of transport infrastructure and its environment;
  • effective implementation of asset and urban management processes (e.g., Building Information Modelling (BIM)); and
  • the development of effective sustainable transport and urban management policies and planning.

To demonstrate the practical benefits of these processes to metro organisations, internationally, the project is seeking the participation of:

  • organisations operating and managing railway-based transport infrastructure, internationally;
  • academic institutions across the world with knowledge of national and international needs, practices, and academic considerations, for the effective management of the interfaces between transport infrastructure and its environment;
  • practitioners in transport and urban management, with knowledge of the needs, practices, and considerations for the effective management of the interfaces.

If you or your organisation would be interested in participating in this research, which will run between September 2020 and May 2023, please contact the Research Project Co-ordinator, Dr Nathan Darroch, Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for Transport Research, School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen, UK.

Further example interfaces of transport infrastructure and its environment can be found at