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How A Single Source of Digital Truth is Improving Journey Times and Reliability

With an aim to deliver faster, more reliable services on 76 miles of track, eight tunnels and 270 bridges, the TransPennine Route Upgrade could’ve quickly faced an asset and data management logistical nightmare. What if we showed you how Jacobs, with Network Rail, formed a common data environment, using real-time information to save time and money, reduce carbon emissions and most importantly, keep its project partners and passengers safe?

TransPennine Route Upgrade

Project overview

With 4.2 million posts on Instagram in just a matter of weeks and everyone from brands, celebrities and even the environment participating, the #10YearChallenge marked the first viral trend of 2019.

Using side-by-side photographs, the challenge illustrates just how much can change in a decade – begging the question of what the world around us will look like in another ten years. Projections already highlight the rise of digitally-enabled solutions and expectations for more than 70 percent of our global population to be living in urban cities by 2030. With McKinsey & Company estimating that the world needs to spend $3.3 trillion on infrastructure annually to meet 2030 demands from these trends, infrastructure megaprojects are sure to be a vital part of the upcoming decade.

Whether it’s a major highway redevelopment or water superstructure, successful major programs depend on understanding the related assets and making informed decisions on how to best protect and deliver returns on investments – easier said than done, though. Take for example the Rocky Flats Closure Project, which removed decontaminated and demolished 800 structures and performed environmental cleanup actions at 130 sites, or the Thames Estuary Asset Management 2100 Program that’s maintaining more than 3,000 different assets along the River Thames.

But what if we showed you how Jacobs and Network Rail’s TransPennine Route Upgrade Programme project team brought together current data – from cab-ride videos to crime data and land ownership – into a single source of digital truth, guiding smart asset management to promote a smoother program and journey for the future?

Key Facts


common environment, a single digital source of truth featuring cab-ride videos, 360º photographs, crime data, land ownership, asset condition, hazards and access information and more


miles of track, connecting millions of passengers across northern England

Delivering differently

Millions of passengers use the key TransPennine Route, from York to Manchester, and over the next 20 years, passenger numbers are forecasted to double. Ahead of this growth, Britain’s railway infrastructure, owner, operator and developer Network Rail is conducting a $4.5 billion program – called the TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU) – to deliver faster, longer, more frequent and more reliable rail services across the north of England.

The route covers 76 miles of track, eight tunnels, 15 viaducts, 25 stations and 270 bridges, connecting Newcastle, Hull and York toward Manchester and Liverpool via Leeds. Working in partnership with Network Rail as integrated delivery partner, Jacobs provides a range of services on the program from more traditional rail offerings, such as engineering design and operational modelling, to major program support services such as project controls, the introduction of lean management processes and stakeholder engagement.

On major programs such as TRU, involving multiple stakeholders and partners, data management is a real challenge. Without a single source of truth, delivery partners will obtain data from different sources and of varying quality, with the client needing to manage ongoing (and often duplicate) data requests. This typical process is highly inefficient and poses a significant cost to the client, while also impacting the quality of the overall design and solution.

Focused on the question of how we could best enable Network Rail’s TRU project team to quickly access clean, visually rich, accurate, current data from various sources, from any location, on any device – we set out to develop a powerful visual solution that allows all project partners, for the first time ever, to combine the visual and geo-spatial information about an asset, including its condition.

A (TRU)ly digital journey

Our solution, a Common Data Environment (CDE), integrates two of Jacobs’ proprietary tools — ProjectMapper and TrackRecord. These tools collate data from multiple sources in an easy-to-use web portal, which also integrates easily with document control software and other tools. This creates a single digital source of truth – content includes cab-ride videos, 360º photographs, crime data, land ownership, asset condition, hazards and access information.

With ProjectMapper, suppliers can share and access hundreds of datasets in a user-friendly, web-based mapping tool. Accessible from anywhere, this tool includes useful data such as LiDAR survey information, mining data and land parcel extents and ownership. Suppliers can access one source of data, refreshed as available – reducing complexity and influencing design based on the as-is information about what exists on the ground right from the onset. Users can even carry out analysis through measuring tools and share bookmarked locations, layers and annotations with other users. ProjectMapper’s safety web component allows users to review and contribute site safety and welfare information and add text or photos from any mobile device while out on site.

Integrated with ProjectMapper is TrackRecord, an intelligent web database that links directly from the mapping tool and stores detailed information on entities such as structural assets, buildings, signaling, access points, constraints, stakeholder and community engagement and more. Survey and inspection reports can be uploaded by suppliers to the database against these entities, and these can be categorized and scanned to find the information needed quickly. TrackRecord has a host of features that suppliers can use to share intelligence, make better informed decisions, identify data trends and influence design decisions efficiently. Together, these tools offer useful features such as pinpointing locations through the geolocation functionality, identifying hazards before setting foot on site and adding data layers to visualize how constraints might impact design options.

By providing individuals and teams with the information and ability to carry out assessments remotely, we help Network Rail save time and money, reduce carbon emissions and keep people safe. Because all of this data is regularly refreshed, and accessible across all devices, we give Network Rail TRU partners accurate data, for each and every stage of the project, all from the common data platform – helping move TRU closer to its aspirations of offering six inter-urban and two local services per hour, a 12-minute shorter ride between Manchester and York (a trip that’s currently over an hour long) and more.

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