Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition launches

Network Rail and RIBA Competitions have launched a competition seeking new design ideas for footbridges.

 Entrants are asked to design fully accessible footbridges that can be used across Britain’s rail network.  Design concepts need to further improve the legacy of rail pioneers and the enduring examples of their footbridge designs that already exist across the rail landscape.  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 (AfA) 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. 

Ideas developed for the competition should be innovative, challenge presumptions and raise expectations for the quality of future designs.  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.


The competition is open internationally to practising architects, structural engineers, civil engineers or teams thereof, together with students of these design disciplines. 

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. 

The Panel will be Chaired by Paul Finch and comprise Rowan Conway (Royal Society of Arts), Anthony Dewar (Network Rail), Margaret Hickish (Design 4 Inclusion Ltd.), Kay Hughes (Khaa), Chris Wise (Expedition Engineering) and Jonathan McDowell (Matter Architecture) acting as the RIBA Architect Adviser.

Anthony Dewar,  Head of Buildings and Architecture at Network Rail, said:  “Footbridges provide a vital function enabling the public to easily access train services and serving as public rights of way.

Network Rail is committed to promoting design excellence. That’s why 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.”

For further details and how to enter please visit   

The closing date for submission of design proposals is 14.00hrs (BST) on Tuesday 18 September 2018.