'Big Data' research prevents cracking up

Supplementary content information

Photo of pothole in road

Potholes, cracked roads, and flooded railway lines cost the country millions in delays, repairs and compensation - but science can reduce the costs and the adverse impacts.

EPSRC is behind research designed to protect the nation's vital transport infrastructure and create cost-effective policy by using 'Big Data' to minimise the risks of geohazards and climate change upon our vital national transport network.

Through applying data about the behaviours of soils - the effects on roads can be predicted. By developing risk modelling techniques focusing upon environmental factors, researchers at the EPSRC-funded Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) base at the University of Oxford and Cranfield University are creating research that can tackle the problem. Using techniques derived from this knowledge, Lincolnshire County Council has deployed road repair measures that cost £14 square metre - a major saving over the previous costings of £250 square metre.

Further deployment of the research to maximise the cost benefits for other County Council areas are being developed. The rail network is also benefitting from the wider impact of the work to reduce damage and consequent delays.