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Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the ODI launch data initiative to make our railways, roads and power stations safer

Tue Nov 20, 2018
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Using shared and open data to improve safety in our built infrastructure and across society

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a charity which helps to protect people and property, and the Open Data Institute (ODI) are today announcing the launch of a new initiative using shared and open data to improve safety in our built infrastructure and across society. The announcement is being made today at the ODI Summit 2018 by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation Chief Executive, Professor Richard Clegg who will call on organisations to be part of the new initiative, helping effect change across the engineering sector.

The consequences of unsafe infrastructure was seen in September this year, where 43 people were killed when a 220m (656ft) section of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa plunged 45m, along with dozens of vehicles.

Accidents like this could potentially be avoided if more data was shared, openly published and available on our built infrastructure, allowing structural problems to be identified and improvements to be made. For example, data on the design and maintenance of bridges could help drive greater investment in maintenance or improved designs; data about ships could be used to predict faults and create safer environments at sea through early interventions; data about drones or driverless cars could even help highlight safety risks.

Announcing the new initiative at the ODI Summit 2018, Professor Richard Clegg:

“The engineering sector collects and holds a huge amount of data, most of which is currently not accessible. By working with the ODI, engineering companies and industry bodies, we want to see more data openly published, so we have greater transparency over the safety of our national infrastructure. With this initiative we want to build understanding across the sector of the value of data for the public good, and collaborate to improve safety.”

Over the coming months the ODI and Lloyd’s Register Foundation will be working in collaboration with a range of engineering and safety organisations across the UK including the Royal Academy of Engineering, to identify how increasing access to data can help inform engineering design, monitor safety, and improve operations of key infrastructure.

Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Co-Founder and Chairman at the ODI:

“Data about our physical infrastructure such as bridges, sewers, and electricity lines is a vital part of our national data infrastructure. It provides critical information about our environment that we can use to identify improvements and opportunities for better, safer, more efficient services. This initiative will look at where sharing and opening data would help the designers, operators and maintainers of our physical infrastructure keep us safe.”

Professor Martyn Thomas CBE FREng, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering:

“We look forward to working with the Open Data Institute and the Lloyd’s Register Foundation on this important initiative. The safety of infrastructure and other engineered systems affects people in every country and many of the same methods, components and materials are used worldwide. Engineers have a professional duty to ensure that their work does not expose anyone to avoidable risks and the open sharing of data creates a good opportunity to improve safety – and greater safety is also good for business.”

Photo by Simon Mumenthaler on Unsplash