Progress & updates

ITRC-MISTRAL update August 2017

This is a quick run through some of the activities, events and highlights from ITRC-MISTRAL  over the first half of 2017.

We’ve kept it short and low on detail to make it an easy read, but if there’s anything that looks particularly interesting, get in touch with Miriam Mendes for more information.

Research impact

Research progress

  • Significant steps have been taken to realise MISTRAL’s aim of multi-scale modelling. During the last six months most of the effort has been focused upon improving spatial resolution and transferring methodologies to other countries around the world. Work on upscaling to global networks and UK interconnectivity is now under way.
  • ITRC-MISTRAL hackathon to develop the fast track integration of sector modelling, celebrating areas where progress is good, and identifying where more input is needed.
  • We’ve responded to considerable interest in our work with demographic household-level data, and engaged with an enhanced group of stakeholders and assisted in creating a standardised approach. Following our successful back-casting pilot with demographic data, full projection work has now started.
  • ITRC-MISTRAL researchers are working closely with the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to develop better modelling for decision-makers. NISMOD has been used alongside government departmental models, adding a rich level of information and analysis. An Impact Accelerator Award is supporting some of this work.
  • The ITRC-MISTRAL transport modellers are also working with the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to address some of the NIC’s particular questions about transport demand projections.
  • We’ve focused on embedding governance across ITRC-MISTRAL modelling, and developing an online interface that suits the needs of our core users for policymaking, analysis and academic applications.
  • With new team members being introduced during the year, we are making further progress with work on:
    • Developing a model of global network analysis
    • Code optimisation across all ITRC-MISTRAL modelling
  • We are supporting the application of the sophisticated SWIMS solid waste model by developing a user manual.
  • Our agent based modelling work (ABM) is making good progress on spatial representation of data on future housing needs.


  • February: ITRC-MISTRAL client group dinner in London for informal discussion about ensuring ITRC-MISTRAL’s long-term impact.
  • April: ITRC-MISTRAL Assembly in Cambridge, bringing together researchers working on ITRC-MISTRAL to share their findings and to plan for the future.

ITRC-MISTRAL snapshot January 2017

NISMOD development and application

  • NISMOD used to support analysis for the National Needs Assessment
  • Ongoing collaboration with the National Infrastructure Commission in support of the National Infrastructure Assessment
  • Fast – recent work development of NISMOD2.0 for early April 2017.

Main developments in NISMOD2.0

  • Population – new household level micro-simulation model
  • Housing – building characteristics for all UK buildings
  • Energy – local energy hub model, better treatment of intermittency and demand response, higher spatial resolution for national/continental model
  • Transport – higher resolution multi-modal model
  • Digital communication – geospatial analysis of digital connectivity and roll-out (fixed, mobile, satellite)
  • Water – integration of WATHNET national model used for the WaterUK national framework study, incorporation of energy use and waste water treatment
  • Urban drainage – high resolution of simulation of urban flooding and investment in sewer networks
  • Flooding – work with EA to update and integrate the Long Term Investment Strategy model
  • Solid waste – higher resolution model of waste arising, transportation, treatment and disposal
  • Decision analysis – uncertainties, trade-offs and optimisation

Analysis of infrastructure network resilience

  • Pinpointing key vulnerabilities in transport networks (Lloyds Science of Risk Prize 2016)
  • Regional economic impacts of infrastructure network failure
  • Climate adaptation and interdependencies methodology and analysis for HS2
  • Climate resilient infrastructure investment appraisal for World Bank and Asian Development Bank

Other work includes:

  • Econometric analysis of the relationship between infrastructure and regional economic growth
  • Development of a spatial agent-based model of housing and infrastructure
  • Analysis of multi-scale governance of infrastructure systems
  • Input to NIC 5G and technological change studies
  • Potential £8m National Infrastructure Database, Modelling, Simulation and Visualisation Facility at RAL Harwell