Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy Living Labs

Research to shift the focus within infrastructure delivery decision-making.

Project summary

Over the next few years, the construction sector will witness a wave of infrastructure projects (£60 billion of spend each year over the next decade) and ground work will be undertaken to set future financial settlements. The pace of this growth, and the size of this opportunity, demands a construction sector that is the best in the world. To maximise the opportunities to drive efficiency savings across the delivery of the transport infrastructure pipeline, this proposal brings together key UK Transport Client groups, Suppliers and academic experts to establish a Transport Infrastructure Efficiency 'Living Lab' to build capability within delivery, innovation and managing construction risk.

The UK has had a modest track record of infrastructure delivery with some programmes completed late; over budget; failing to secure the benefits expected; or cancelled after a significant investment. With the increasing challenge and complexity of the government's pipeline of major projects, the capacity to deliver is being stretched. The estimation of cost and schedule can be improved and major projects and programmes are tending to avoid innovation risk. These attitudes to uncertainty and risk are deeply engrained and cultural, with inconsistencies across Departments and ALBs. Together, they create barriers to the greater uptake of Modern Methods of Construction and driving productivity. This proposal offers a strategic, scalable and sector wide approach with Government, Client Groups, Suppliers and Academia working in partnership.

To overcome these challenges, the 'Living lab' will work in collaboration with i3P and the CIH to tackle the systemic issues that still obstruct the use, integration and adoption of innovations that could drive productivity and wider social benefits through major construction schemes. It will be a catalyst for cultural change, shifting focus within infrastructure delivery decision-making from the costs of construction to an understanding of its whole life value.

Statement from Professor Lord Robert Mair, Cambridge University, Chair of the DFT Science Advisory Council and Member, Transport Research and Innovation Board:

"This demonstrator is a transformative collaboration. It uses data, technology and Modern Methods of Construction within live transport infrastructure projects to showcase the value of data visualisation through real-time data control rooms and demonstrates where we can drive even greater productivity and efficiency through innovation transfer. By implementing advanced construction and engineering techniques on live projects, we will deliver significantly better outcomes for society and provide the evidence needed to scale how we drive productivity across the transport infrastructure sector."

Project value



1 May 2020 to 30 April 2022.

Industrial partners

  • Accelar Limited
  • Akerlof Ltd
  • Bryden Wood Technology Limited
  • Costain Limited
  • Department for Transport
  • Expedition Engineering Limited
  • Highways England
  • Hs2 Ltd
  • Kier Construction Limited
  • Manufacturing Technology Centre
  • Network Rail Infrastructure Limited
  • Nsar Limited
  • Office of National Statistics
  • Powercube Limited
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Social Profit Calculator Ltd
  • Strategic Rail Consultants Limited
  • Transport for London Finance Limited
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Leeds
  • UWE Bristol
  • Walker Construction (UK) Limited
  • Whole Life Consultants Limited
  • X-Treme Systems Limited

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