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Information sheet

'Data for the Public Good' overview

29 April 2019

This National Infrastructure Commission report sets out a vision for improved data sharing and a national digital twin for infrastructure, enabled by new technological innovations (e.g. artificial intelligence and machine learning).

'Data for the Public Good' overview

Sharing more information about infrastructure across the public and private sectors securely will enable the UK to use, maintain and plan national systems better. The technology is already available – what we need is a co-ordinated approach to data sharing.

Benefits of improved data sharing include:

  • Cutting the numbers of delays and disruptions to train journeys by better planning maintenance and making repairs more quickly through the use of sensor networks and the application of machine learning
  • Reducing the numbers of traffic jams on the roads by using smart traffic lights and other systems;
  • Responding to extreme weather events like snowstorms and floods in a more coordinated way
  • Faster identification of leaks in the water network through data from smart water meters
  • Increasing competition between mobile and broadband operators by sharing data on signal and connection speeds – helping to end intermittent services

The more information we have about the nation’s infrastructure, the better we can understand it. Therefore, data is crucial. Data can improve how our infrastructure is built, managed, and eventually decommissioned, and real-time data can inform how our infrastructure is operated on a second-to-second basis.

Key Recommendations

Key recommendations from the Data for the Public Good report include:

  • A Digital Framework for secure sharing of infrastructure data
  • A Digital Twin (computer model) of Britain’s Infrastructure, to help plan, predict and understand our assets
  • Coordination of key players including the Centre for Digital Built Britain through a Digital Framework Task Group

These actions can improve services whilst saving society billions of pounds.

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  • Charles Jensen, knowledge content producer at ICE