Skip to main content

Network Rail FLOW Bridge


Network Rail FLOW Bridge



Network Rail


2020 - 2022

Design and Construction Team

Knight Architects, Epsilon Optics, FoFlo, Jacobs, KS Composites, Q-Railing, Rapid Root and Sui Generis


Railway Innovation Award 2021

Composites UK Award 2021 (Runner-up)

Building Innovation Award 2021 (Shortlisted)

NCE TechFest Award 2021 (Shortlisted)

Challenging standard conventions through innovation

Knight Architects was appointed by Network Rail to develop an innovative new standard footbridge design as part of their nationwide drive to improve safety at level crossings. The brief sought to find an alternative to the heavy steel standard footbridge commonly used across the railway network.

The project challenged the design team to deliver a user-focused footbridge that was cheaper and quicker to produce than a steel equivalent, and adaptable to a wide range of locations. The different properties of modern composites were tailored to their location and structural function, meaning the concept design achieved a lightweight, strong, and cost-effective solution. This in turn allowed the use of concrete free foundations.

Improvements to the bridge geometry and parapets create a radically enhanced user experience, when compared to the standard through-girder. A modular concept design was developed in fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) using parametric modelling tools, which allowed for a highly collaborative process and real-time design evolution. The result is a standardised product which accurately reflects the concept, whilst offering a variety of configurations to respond to different site characteristics.

The innovative procurement process meant concept to completion of full-size prototype took less than a year and was achieved largely remotely.

Learn more about this ground-breaking project here.