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Costain driving industry innovation as strategic partner in UK Government’s new Living Lab programme

Digital connectivity and data in transportation infrastructure


21 July 2020


As part of driving digital transformation and innovation at pace across the infrastructure sector, Costain is proud to be a strategic technology partner for a new programme designed to drive innovation across major transport infrastructure projects in the UK launched recently by Minister of State, Andrew Stephenson for the Department for Transport.

The ‘Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy Living Lab’ (TIES Living Lab) is a transformative collaboration aimed at harnessing the vast quantities of intelligence that UK infrastructure projects generate. This ground-breaking programme, in which organisations share information and demonstrate best practice, could revolutionise the way this country approaches major transport projects. Leveraging its experience as an integration delivery partner and digital technology expertise, Costain is the technology partner responsible for driving the delivery and implementation of digital technology solutions to achieve early benefits.

As an example, infrastructure schemes generate vast amounts of intelligence that could be applied to other projects to improve their efficiency. The Living Lab provides a means of harnessing this collective information so that we can explore, analyse and learn lessons from it for the future. Costain is leading a key data integration programme that will bring the data and insights together into a single platform, amalgamating thousands of data sources to drive performance across Government.

Over the next two years the partnership will invest more than £16 million in new tools, processes and data systems - bringing together infrastructure and industry leaders with business and academic institutions to build on, and establish, best practice in the way we design, build and integrate innovations within transport assets.

In his keynote address, Minister of State Andrew Stephenson said: “As we begin our green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the need to level-up our country and boost economic prosperity has only increased – and we are determined that we don’t just rebuild, we rebuild smarter.

“The Living Lab is a great opportunity for industry and academics to work together to embrace new, more productive, more efficient and more sustainable ways of delivering transport infrastructure.”


“Driving digital transformation and innovation at pace across the lifecycle of infrastructure is critical to realising its full value to UK society and its ability to improve people’s lives - not just in terms of job creation and productivity but also in terms of building better resilience for our economy, the environment and communities. “Costain is proud to be a strategic technology partner in this industry collaboration that will help accelerate the infrastructure sector towards being ‘digital by default’ - a key to ensuring we maximise innovations that will optimise existing infrastructure, national development programmes, and the UK’s net zero carbon journey.”

Nathan Marsh, chief digital officer at Costain


Some transport projects are already applying these efficiency-boosting techniques. The A14 12-mile Huntingdon Bypass project for example, Britain’s biggest road project, worked on by Costain with joint venture partners Balfour Beatty and Skanska on behalf of Highways England, was opened a year ahead of schedule with £109 million in efficiency savings including £3.5 million from digital initiatives.

Meanwhile, other redevelopment projects, like at Gatwick Train Station where Costain is overseeing the £150 million redevelopment, are implementing new techniques that should help cut carbon emissions and set new delivery standards.

By identifying and tackling systemic issues that obstruct the innovations in project delivery, this first-of-its-kind programme, will be a catalyst for cultural change.

It comprises of 31 strategic partners (including 25 consortium members), which include Government, i3P, the Construction Innovation Hub, Centre for Digital Built Britain, NSAR, the Construction Leadership Council and the Environment Agency.