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Dr James Pritchard MA (Oxon), MSc, EngD

Research Fellow in Rail Systems

Dr James Pritchard's photo

Dr James Pritchard is Research Fellow in Rail Systems within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

He joined the University in 2009 to study for an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in the area of sustainable transport. The title of his thesis was “Investigating the environmental sustainability of rail travel in comparison with other modes.” Environmental sustainability is a broad topic, and the main focus was on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Empirical energy consumption data from trains were analysed in order to understand some of the factors which affect operational energy consumption and make better comparisons with alternatives, such as driving or taking the bus. Some work was also undertaken to investigate the embedded energy and emissions of infrastructure, and a review of some life-cycle analysis studies was undertaken.

After his EngD, James took up a post-doctoral research position within the Transportation Research Group (TRG). He embarked on a 14-month secondment with Arup, who part-sponsored his EngD, and developed software to better understand embedded emissions in railway infrastructure.

Following his time with Arup, James won a bid for funding from Rail Research UK Association (RRUKA), in the area of “using data to improve the passenger experience.” This project involves investigating whether improved information provision might influence the behaviour of rail passengers, and reduce overcrowding issues, which are a concern for both passengers and rail operators alike. It is being undertaken with the full co-operation of one of Britain’s Train Operating Companies (TOCs), and a recent pilot study, in which passengers on trains were surveyed, provided a useful amount of data.

Research interests

James has a wide range of research interests. Much of his work recently has been in the area of sustainability and has involved consideration of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. This fits well with his technical background, but James is also interested in behavioural issues. There has been a behavioural component to some of the sustainability research; consideration of modal shift towards more sustainable transport modes, for example. His main research focus at the moment is on whether better information provision for rail passengers can influence their travel behaviour enough to help mitigate crowding issues, and he is also involved in another project looking at information provision for passengers with special needs.


Impact Acceleration Account Knowledge Transfer Secondment (KTS) looking at energy and carbon on the railway (EPSRC and Arup, July 2014 – October 2015) Contract Holder: Prof J.M. Preston

Rail Research UK Association Pilot Study in to the effects of information provision on overcrowding (RRUKA, since October 2015)  Contract Holder: Prof J.M. Preston

Rail Research UK Association Pilot Study in to the use of data to help passengers with special requirements (RRUKA, October 2015 - ) Dr. S. Blainey


Research group

Transportation Group

Research project(s)

Improving Customer Experience While Ensuring Data Privacy (DICE)

Predicting and mitigating small fluctuations in station dwell times

Rail Capacity and Demand

Research work in rail capacity at Southampton was initiated with the OCCASION project (2010-2012), followed-up with a Knowledge Transfer Secondment with Arup (2013-14) and continues with the DITTO project (2014-2017). Research work on rail demand forecasting at Southampton was initiated with Rail Research UK (2003-2010) and has continued with a series of grants, contracts and consultancy studies.

Solent Future Transport Zone. Theme 1: Passenger Mobility

Doctoral Research Projects

Professor Preston is interested in supervising Doctoral Students in three broad areas: Transport Economics and Policy Transport, Energy and the Environment Project Economics and Management

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Book Chapter


Dr James Pritchard
Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF

Room Number: 176/4001

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