City Hall has commissioned a new digital map of the pipe and cable networks running under London to help reduce the disruption caused when they’re struck by mistake.
The map, which will allow workers to see underground pipes and cables on mobile phones or laptops before they start digging, has been funded by the Government and is one of two national pilots to create a digital map of underground utilities.
Known as London’s Underground Asset Register (LUAR), the scheme will operate across six local authorities that are currently being selected.
Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office says it’s working closely with utilities, transport providers, and other partners to create the digital map.
Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, said: “This innovative use of data has the potential to revolutionise day-to-day operations in the infrastructure sector. This pilot scheme is great news for London and will build on the successful work we’ve done in this area so far.
“At City Hall we’ll be working in partnership with a wide group of stakeholders – from local authorities to utilities companies – and I look forward to the progress we can make together.”
Theo Blackwell, London’s Chief Digital Officer, said: “This is another practical example of how we are using data to improve the lives of Londoners. It forms part of a wider body of work to improve the quality of data across London’s planning systems.
“This will help us lower construction costs, improve coordination between utility and infrastructure companies and uncover London’s hidden assets.”
The Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden, said: “When workers strike pipes and cables, it risks lives, costs money and causes havoc for residents and road-users.
“Our investment in this cutting-edge underground map is just one way that the government is working smarter, so that we really make a difference to people’s everyday lives.”
The project builds on an initiative led by Thames Water with support from TfL and other utilities called the Highways Asset Data Exchange System,’ a proof of concept that created a similar map for smaller areas of London.
Kelly Macfarlane, Thames Water’s customer experience director, said: “We’re proud our innovative data system provided the inspiration for this project.
“It will benefit millions of road users by reducing disruptive works, help prevent customer supply interruptions caused by accidental damage to water pipes, and importantly keep safe the people who carry out essential work to provide the capital with resilient utility networks.”