MD2564 Infrastructure Data and Innovation – future developments

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
07 January 2020
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The following two externally funded projects within the Infrastructure Data and Innovation programme of work are moving into the next stage of development; this Mayoral Decision summarises the position of the projects and seeks authority to receive the relevant grant funding:

1) Working with Government, the Greater London Authority (GLA) has almost completed the London’s Underground Asset Register (LUAR) pilot. The Geospatial Commission (GC), part of the Cabinet Office, awarded the GLA £2.43 million to digitally map underground assets across six London boroughs (MD2469). The Government has now requested that the GLA continue this partnership as the Geospatial Commission prepares to establish a national register. In the next two years, the GLA expects to receive £3.33 million to maintain the existing system, continue testing, expand participation to additional boroughs and infrastructure providers, and contribute strategically to the launch of a national system. The Infrastructure team will continue to manage this work at the GLA.

2) The London Infrastructure Mapping Application (IMA) can access an additional £290,500 in grant funding from the London Lane Rental Surplus Revenue, beyond the original amount approved by MD2162 of £500,000. The IMA is a digital tool that underpins the Infrastructure Coordination service being piloted by the GLA, allowing infrastructure providers to identify opportunities for joint street works proactively and plan effectively for London’s growth. This funding will support the next stage of the IMA’s development that will add new features to help infrastructure providers better evaluate coordination opportunities, refine existing functionality and further increase data in the tool.


That the Mayor approves:

1. Receipt of £3.33 million funding over two years from the Cabinet Office’s Geospatial Commission and expenditure of these funds to implement the next phase of the underground asset mapping programme in London; and

2. Receipt of up to £290,500 funding from the Lane Rental Surplus Revenue and expenditure of these funds to support the next phase of development for the London Infrastructure Mapping Application.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Infrastructure Data and Innovation is a growing area of work at the GLA within the Infrastructure Team. Supported by external funding, it consists of a number of digital tools and data feeds that underpin the Infrastructure Coordination service being piloted by the GLA. Infrastructure providers and highways authorities require the right data and analysis in order to change their ways of working and engage in coordination.

There are opportunities currently for two projects within the Infrastructure Data and Innovation portfolio—London’s Underground Asset Register and the London Infrastructure Mapping Application—to progress to the next stage of work.
London’s Underground Asset Register – next phase

The GLA has successfully undertaken a £2.43 million pilot project funded by Government’s Geospatial Commission to digitally map underground assets across six London boroughs – creating the London’s Underground Asset Register (LUAR) pilot. LUAR has been managed by the GLA’s Infrastructure Team since its launch in May 2019, bringing together data from all asset owners operating in the areas into a digital tool. The LUAR pilot is near completion, ending in March 2020.

As a result of learnings gathered through the LUAR pilot and a similar pilot undertaken in the Northeast, the Geospatial Commission has chosen to move forward with ambitions to create a National Underground Asset Register (NUAR). The Government has requested that the GLA continue this partnership working in preparation for establishing the national register.

The LUAR pilot was undertaken because underground asset owners (including infrastructure providers and boroughs) across London have limited visibility of one another’s asset type and location underground. Information is often contained in formats that make digital sharing difficult and inefficient. This lack of information sharing can, at worst, lead to injury and loss of life through utility strikes. It also causes delays for providers and can incur additional costs for local authorities as infrastructure providers undertake numerous ‘test digs’ to ascertain the location of an asset. Local authorities and the GLA likewise lack visibility on this asset information - making coordination, improved infrastructure planning and delivery difficult and more expensive. Creating a digital map where providers and the public sector can access information on underground assets is expected to have significant impacts on safety (avoiding utility strikes) and efficiency of works (reducing road network disruption), as well as creating other benefits such as reducing the costs of projects.

With the LUAR pilot’s initial delivery period from May 2019 to March 2020 now nearly complete, it has successfully demonstrated that infrastructure providers’ existing datasets on underground assets can be brought together into a single system and has begun to show the benefits of doing so.

The Geospatial Commission recognises the GLA’s extensive work during the pilot phase to create buy-in among over 20 utilities, transport providers, local authorities and telecommunications companies, and the technical work required to prepare their data. The Geospatial Commission wants to ensure that access is maintained for project partners after March 2020 to the data that the GLA has already collected, and that momentum is maintained.

There is a significant amount of work required to move from the pilot phase to a national platform, particularly to incorporate new data from additional local authorities and infrastructure providers into the platform. There is also further substantial testing and other preparation work required to inform the national roll out.

Undertaking the next phase of LUAR would allow the GLA to remain at the forefront of innovation, demonstrating the GLA’s commitment to data sharing and digital transformation in a challenging sector.

It should be noted that receipt of the next phase of funding is subject to the GLA agreeing a Grant Agreement with the Cabinet Office, which will be approved under the General Delegation / Signatory Permission (as per Mayoral Decision-Making in the GLA) by the Assistant Director for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity.

London Infrastructure Mapping Application – additional development

Separately, the London Infrastructure Mapping Application (IMA) is also progressing to the next stage of development. The IMA, first created by the GLA in 2015, is an online and interactive GIS-based tool that integrates infrastructure and development data, along with contextual information, to facilitate coordination and strategic planning across Greater London. The GLA has recently completed development on Version 3 with funding from the Lane Rental Surplus Revenue.

The IMA details the location and timing of planned and speculatively planned streetworks programmes in London. The Collaboration Tool, released as part of Version 3, allows private users (utilities, transport providers, TfL and local authorities who have signed a multi-party non-disclosure agreement) to identify opportunities for coordinated streetworks based on overlaps in location and timing of various asset owners’ proposed works. The tool has identified a series of coordination opportunities that are currently being evaluated and progressed by infrastructure providers in collaboration with the Infrastructure Coordination service being piloted by the GLA. Version 3 also includes a number of features that allow infrastructure providers to more effectively plan for growth, including: a Probability of Development Tool that predicts the likelihood of each residential planning permission coming forward as development; a Dormancy Filter that removes inactive residential sites; and an Area Summarisation Tool that captures expected development and infrastructure delivery in any area of interest.

The Lane Rental Surplus Revenue has made available an additional £290,500 in grant funding (including contingency) beyond the original amount approved by MD2162 for further improvements to the IMA.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Both LUAR and the IMA support the Mayor’s commitments to minimise streetworks disruption and are expected also to reduce infrastructure project delivery issues and related costs. The IMA also supports improved planning for growth, enabling housing delivery by allowing infrastructure providers to proactively prepare for coming development rather than becoming blockers to delivery.

The Mayor’s London Infrastructure Group, comprising London’s leading infrastructure providers, regulators, Government and industry organisations support both projects and have already shared data to enable their development.

London’s Underground Asset Register – next phase

The next phase of work will result in an up-to-date digital map of underground assets covering the area of at least 16 London boroughs by March 2022, including the six delivered during the LUAR pilot. This map will be accessible to all data providers and the GLA.

The project will continue to test Government’s four use cases for an underground asset register that were tested during the LUAR pilot, in addition to the GLA-specific use case supporting Infrastructure Coordination:

• Safe digging – to avoid utility strikes;
• On-site efficiency – to create project efficiency savings;
• Site planning – to create project efficiency savings;
• Data exchange – to create data efficiency savings; and
• Improved coordination – to support collaborative streetworks (GLA specific).

The next phase of work will also allow the GLA to investigate two further use cases:

• Developer advising – to facilitate coordinated gas, water, and electricity connections and any other activity that requires excavation through boroughs; and
• Resilience planning – to identify infrastructure interdependencies and capacity challenges as well as proactively plan around constraints.

The pilot platform will be used by a range of stakeholders at various stages of infrastructure planning and delivery. The tool will be used by infrastructure providers’ operational teams in planning capital works programmes and by their staff and contractors while digging onsite. Local authorities will use the tool to improve streetworks planning and facilitate coordination.

Selection of the ten additional boroughs that the project will cover will be primarily based on asset owners’ data quality and formats in each borough. We will choose boroughs where we can demonstrate the use-cases put forward by the Geospatial Commission and the GLA in the time provided and that align with existing GLA infrastructure planning and delivery initiatives.

The GLA will take on four workstreams in the next phase of work. These are:

• Maintenance: The GLA will maintain the existing LUAR platform while preparations are underway for a national system, so that it can be used by data providers. To do this, the GLA will source regular data updates, transform the data for inclusion in the platform and ensure proper uploading. The GLA will also refine data transformation to improve existing datasets.
• Expansion and wider engagement: The GLA will source additional datasets from existing partners, as well as expanding partners to include at least ten new boroughs and additional infrastructure providers operating there. The GLA will support vectorisation as needed to facilitate wide participation and establish automated data feeds wherever possible. The GLA will convene regular LUAR workshops where all partners can ask questions and share insights.
• Preparation for a national system: In collaboration with the Geospatial Commission, the GLA will offer strategic advice to help Government prepare for the launch of NUAR. This includes offering recommendations to improve the existing data model so that it is fit for purpose and aligned with existing standards and asset management systems, as well as undertaking additional research to understand the barriers to NUAR replacing business as usual in London.
• New use-cases: The GLA will facilitate use of the platform on the ground and measure outcomes against the new use cases it has identified, in addition to Government’s existing use cases.

LUAR’s next phase of work will result in coverage of 16 London local authorities, with data for these areas fully integrated into the platform.
London Infrastructure Mapping Application – additional development

Additional improvements to the London Infrastructure Mapping Application will result in new functionality to support the Infrastructure Coordination service being piloted by the GLA, as well as improved data.

These will include

• Benefits calculator: The GLA will develop a tool to identify, for any given collaboration opportunity, the expected benefit in time savings and cost savings that a particular joint streetworks scheme might bring in comparison to others. Significant research and scoping is required to implement this functionality.
• Improved analysis: The GLA will refine existing analysis functionality, such as the Probability of Development Tool, to include additional variables and more complex modelling so that they cover additional types of development at different stages within the planning system, in order to support better planning for growth.
• Integration: The GLA will improve technical integration with data providers and other digital tools, focusing on machine-to-machine connections to facilitate automated data updates wherever possible.
• User refinements: The GLA will implement longstanding requests for user experience improvements, sourced from user interviews and workshops.

Hiring and procurement

London’s Underground Asset Register

LUAR’s next phase of work will require establishing three externally funded two-year fixed-term members of staff to deliver the project, focusing on stakeholder engagement and data management. During the LUAR pilot, two roles were filled using agency workers given the short duration of the pilot and uncertainty around future steps. To address capacity challenges that arose during the LUAR pilot and the increased volume of work in the next phase, we have agreed with the Geospatial Commission the need for one additional post to provide support. The three posts will be recruited in accordance with all GLA staffing protocols.

Certain elements of the above LUAR workstreams within the project will be put out to tender, following the Contracts and Funding Code and GLA’s and TfL’s procurement guidelines. Services will be procured through TfL Commercial. These include:

• Procuring technical expertise to support data transformation and integration, as well as data modelling refinement;
• Procuring research expertise to support use case testing; and
• Procuring legal expertise to agree data sharing agreements for the next phase of work.

To ensure that all relevant data is digitised within the necessary time period, the GLA will contribute grant funding to relevant boroughs. This will allow them to locate data and upgrade its format for use within the LUAR pilot platform.

The GLA will also provide grant funding to asset owners to assist in data vectorisation. The amount of funding to be contributed per asset owner will be determined in the initial planning stage of the project. An umbrella budget has been committed by the Geospatial Commission.

London Infrastructure Mapping Application

There are already three members of staff working on London’s Infrastructure Mapping Application and they will undertake the next phase of work. Technical expertise will be required and so elements of the project will be put out to tender, following the Contracts and Funding Code and GLA’s and TfL’s procurement guidelines. Services will be procured through TfL Commercial. These will include web development, data science and research to inform the new functionality.

Equality comments

The public-sector equality duty (PSED) under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 requires the identification and evaluation of the likely potential impacts, both positive and negative, of this decision on those with relevant protected characteristics. The Mayor is required to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not. This may involve, in particular, removing or minimising any disadvantage suffered by those who share a relevant protected characteristic, and taking steps to meet the needs of such people. In certain circumstances, compliance with the Act may involve treating people with a protected characteristic more favourably than those without it.

The GLA’s equality, diversity and inclusion objectives were considered when the recommendations set out in this MD were put together. The benefits of these two digital tools will have direct and indirect positive impacts for all Londoners.

In line with the GLA’s Recruitment and Selection policy, for the new LUAR posts, we will welcome applications from everyone, including those with protected characteristics.

Other considerations

Links to Mayoral Strategies and Priorities


  1. The below table captures links to Mayoral Strategies and Roadmaps:



Environment Strategy

  • Help to improve London’s air quality by reducing congestion on the roads and reducing vehicle movements associated with construction.
  • Improve the efficiency of London’s energy and water distribution networks, by improving coordination and master planning between providers, and between providers and developers.
  • Help to reduce ambient noise associated with construction, through improving the efficiency and speed of construction and road occupation.

Transport Strategy

  • Help promote healthier streets, by reducing street works and roadworks-related road occupation and reducing the number of vehicle movements associated with construction.

Housing Strategy

  • Help to prevent costly delays and unforeseen costs associated with poor infrastructure planning on development sites.
  • Help to reduce the overall cost of infrastructure to developers.

The London Plan

  • Help developers and infrastructure providers to make the best possible use of land, by encouraging the use of utilities master planning, innovative approaches to co-location of assets, and preventing costly retrofitting.
  • Help to accelerate housing delivery in areas of London that are poorly served by existing infrastructure.
  • Increase the efficiency and resilience of infrastructure assets and developments through earlier engagement with providers and facilitating investment ahead of demand in utilities infrastructure.

Economic Development Strategy

  • Reduce the impact of construction on London businesses and residents, to ensure that London’s economy continues to grow, and to improve the productivity of London’s economy.
  • Ensure that London remains a world-leader in planning and delivering new infrastructure, and maintaining existing infrastructure, to promote positive perceptions of the city internationally.

Smarter London Together


  • The Mayor is committed to opening up the capital’s data to help drive better decision making through sharing and combining data across industry sectors.
  • The Mayor will coordinate and share best practice in data and digital services across the GLA Group.


Key Risks and Issues

  1. The following key risks have been identified for LUAR:

Risk cause and event

Risk consequences




Control measures / Actions





There may be integration/ collaboration issues between the GC-selected platform service provider and the GLA

The platform may not be upgraded in time, or may not meet GLA needs




Close collaboration with service provider expected




The GLA has clearly explained plan/expectations to GC, to manage relationship

Alternative service provider can be procured by the GLA if the GC requires it

The creation of the national platform may not proceed, or there may be a long delay

The GLA may be in a position after this two-year period where it must identify alternative ways to maintain LUAR if a national platform is not available




Confirmation given that GC expects to go to tender for a national platform




Possibility that utilities could contribute to ongoing platform access, as demonstrated in Northumberland

Possibility that GC would fund the GLA beyond two-year period if national platform was not ready

The funding the GLA has allocated to incentivise utilities' vectorisation may be insufficient

The utilities may not vectorise in the timeline or areas required for full coverage




The platform can accommodate raster data, and so vectorisation may be de-prioritised if needed




Initial research confirms that most utilities involved already have vectorised data

There is no way to fully mitigate this risk - however, if it is true, it is very important information to know

Additional asset owners may resist participation due to security or data quality concerns

The platform may not provide a comprehensive record of what's underground




Close collaboration with the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure will allow the GLA to continue to make the case to asset owners that participation is a manageable risk




Close collaboration with the service provider will allow the GLA to explain security measures clearly to partners

The platform may not replace business-as-usual processes during in the next two years, and so full coverage is not essential

The GLA team has pre-existing relationships with most utilities and can mobilise the Mayor's London Infrastructure Group around this issue.

Rely on feedback loop mechanism in the tool to capture this in future

Data from providers may be too inaccurate or too incomplete to provide value when mapped

The existence of a mapped register, even were it to become business as usual, may not create benefits because test digs and other activities will still be required to verify data




Initial research has already confirmed value of mapping




Continue to pursue buy in from all providers to ensure best quality data

Understanding in scope of project that this is just one step towards a solution - we will have to handle lack of data later/separately

The resource requirements estimated in the budgeting stage may be insufficient

This phase of work may not deliver in time or at the full scope




Budget includes contingency


There is flexibility in the

requirements to adjust

as more information is known


Prioritise key activities over

optional ones






It may be difficult to recruit high-level technical staff at public sector salaries

The project's quality and delivery timescales may suffer




Recruit using all known networks

developed during the LUAR pilot

Ensure staff grades are

sufficiently high

Bring in consultants where






  1. The following key risks have been identified for the London Infrastructure Mapping Application’s ongoing development:

Risk cause and event

Risk consequences




Control measures / Actions





Appropriately skilled technical staff may not be available within infrastructure provider organisations to prepare data for the IMA

The IMA may not receive all relevant data for coordination, or may receive it over a long period of time without an ability to ensure it remains up to date, or may receive it in a poor format




Utilise knowledge of utilities to identify skilled staff wherever they sit in partner organisations




Provide technical support wherever possible - accept data 'as is'

Make the case to senior leadership to invest in data skills and technology

Insufficient data management may occur at the GLA to maintain the tool, given limited staff in place to manage a large quantity of data

Data within the IMA may be out of date, making it difficult to identify true opportunities for collaboration




Continue to invest in specialised staff to maintain the tool




Bring in external consultants to support data management if required

Encourage partners to provide data in consistent formats

Security of the IMA private area may not meet recognised security standards

There may be security risks, and partners may hesitate to share data




Undergo penetration testing to test whether the system is fully robust to external threats.




Work with the GLA Technology Group to ensure best practice is in place

Budget with contingency and utilise Infrastructure Coordination Team budget where appropriate

Focus on 'pop out' functionality that does not build on existing code

Previous code clean-up has already helped to mitigate this risk

Consider robust options for the future

The information provided by the IMA may be insufficient data/motivation for utilities to pursue joint delivery

The IMA may not lead to reduced road network disruption or true coordination on the ground




Work alongside the Coordination Team to translate the IMA into coordination opportunities




This risk cannot be fully mitigated


  1. No one involved in the drafting or clearance of this form has any conflicts of interest to declare.



Financial comments

Approval is being sought for the receipt and expenditure of £3.33 million grant funding from the Geospatial Commission and up to £290,500 from the Lane Rental Surplus Revenue.


​​​​​​​Both grants will be claimed retrospectively upon submission of eligible expenditure. The budgeted expenditures for these grants are as follows:                                                                              


London’s Underground Asset Register

Core Expenditure


Fixed-term Staffing and Overheads




Expansion and Wider Engagement


Preparation for a National System


New Use-Cases


Core Subtotal


Technical Expenditure (to be granted to external parties)


Borough and utilities vectorisation budget


Borough and utilities data feed budget


Technical Subtotal


10% Core Contingency





          London Infrastructure Mapping Application



Permanent Staffing


Benefits Calculator


Improved Analysis











​​​​​​​Proposals have been put forward to convert the three IMA fixed term posts into permanent posts. These posts will continue to be funded from the grant received from the Lane Rental Surplus Revenue up until 2021. In the instance where further funding has not been secured, the costs of these posts will need to be absorbed by the Authority.


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The income and expenditure for the London’s Underground Asset Register programme will take place over two financial years: 2020/21 and 2021/22 whilst the London Infrastructure Mapping programme will occur between April 2020 – October 2020 only. The indicative profile of expenditure for the former will be 50:50 over the stated duration, however, this could be subject to change. Both programmes will be contained within the Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity budget.                                                                                                                                                             


Planned delivery approach and next steps

An initial project plan has been prepared to secure funding for the next phases of both LUAR and the Infrastructure Mapping Application development; detailed plans are forthcoming. Working groups for both projects will continue, consisting of representatives from each external participating organisation/company to support delivery, including representatives from the Geospatial Commission and the Lane Rental Governance Committee.

Both projects will be overseen corporately by the Assistant Director for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity. The Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills and the Chief Digital Officer will also provide direction. Officers will regularly update key stakeholders – including the Mayor’s London Infrastructure Group, the Geospatial Commission, and the Lane Rental Governance Committee.

Activity table


Timeframe for delivery

Recruitment, start up, procurement, and administration

February 2020 – April 2020

Initial research and agreements

April 2020 – June 2020

Maintenance of the existing system

April 2020 – March 2022

Initial data model improvements

May 2020 – July 2020

Research business as usual

May 2020 – August 2020

Launch expansion effort

June 2020

Prepare for new use cases

June 2020 – December 2020

First expanded datasets ready for loading

December 2020

First testing phase

January 2020 – March 2021

Continue expansion and loading

January 2020 – May 2021

Second testing phase

June 2021 – September 2021

Final expansion and loading

October 2021 – December 2021

Final testing

January 2021 – March 2022

Preparation for national launch and transition

October 2021 – March 2022



Timeframe for delivery

Scoping for benefits calculator

January – February 2020

Procurement for benefits calculator

March 2020

Delivery of benefits calculator

April – June 2020

Scoping for improved analysis and user refinements

February – March 2020

Procurement for improved analysis and user refinements

April 2020

Delivery of improved analysis and user refinements

May – September 2020

Scoping for integration

March – April 2020

Delivery of integration (in house)

May – September 2020

Testing (initial testing will occur throughout)

September – October 2020

Monitoring and evaluation

October 2020

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