Connected Thinking for London Infrastructure
Hosted by London First, a group of over 200 leading, cross-sector businesses, this year’s London Infrastructure Summit explored key themes across transport, housing and digital infrastructure, with keynotes including U.K. Minister of State and Minister for London Jo Johnson MP, Chair of the U.K.’s National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt CBE and Crossrail 2 Managing Director Michèle Dix CBE. The summit took place on Wednesday, September 12, attracting over 500 delegates and experts across business, infrastructure providers, and U.K. and London government.
Jacobs Director of Future Cities Development Margot Orr Jones joined the panel discussion looking at the priorities for London in the context of the recent launch of the U.K.’s first ever National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA). The NIA sets out the U.K. National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) assessment of long-term infrastructure needs with recommendations to the U.K. government. The assessment includes a range of recommendations from low carbon energy, digital technology and the future of the nation’s roads, to tackling floods and encouraging growth of cities.
Margot Orr Jones: “We welcome the NIC’s assessment – it identifies the right challenges facing the U.K. in terms of its long-term economic infrastructure development, however, it’s clear that the U.K. cannot afford it all. The NIA lays the foundation for a robust debate and the opportunity now is for the government and industry to work more closely together to find the best way to deliver the solutions we need as a country.
“Often there’s a lot of focus on individual major projects, and in many cases that’s right. But the world is changing. We’re seeing far more need for aligned thinking to infrastructure planning – it is no longer a linear relationship between client, investor, developer and government. If all stakeholders work in a partnership and design together to accommodate growth, this brings greater connectivity and cross-pollination of ideas, technology and strategy. It brings something different and better for a community and for the country.
“Around the world Jacobs is working with clients who are addressing some of the most critical issues of our time – how to ensure we have clean air, water, connectivity, mobility, security and opportunities to prosper. And they need problem solvers who help them approach the major challenges and opportunities in a much more integrated way.
“This might be taking a new approach to financial models and funding, to enable projects to get off the ground and create the right incentive structures to meet the client’s needs. Or it might be using technological innovation to create efficiency savings, better prioritize investment and avoid the need for major infrastructure spend in the first place.
“An example is Transport for London’s Project Edmond – in collaboration with O2 and AECOM, we’re working with Transport for London (TfL) to provide transport demand-related data and information for London using big data analysis technology. With London's population currently at 8.8 million, and forecast to grow by 2M to 10.8M by 2041*, it’s important to leverage the power of new technology to help TfL address the transport challenges facing the city. To our knowledge, this is the first time such a large scale, big data project using mobile phone event data, combined with other emerging app-based data sources, has been undertaken in a complex world city such as London. This work will provide a more detailed understanding of how people use the city's transport network – allowing planned transport investment to be more accurately focused on where it is most beneficial to reduce delays and increase capacity.
“Better infrastructure and connectivity means competitive, smarter cities, economic growth and stronger business. Every new infrastructure strategy should be better for the environment, better for people, and better for the economy – sharing the benefits more equally across the economy and society.”
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