That is the conclusion of a new report by the National Infrastructure Commission, chaired by Lord Andrew Adonis, entitled Data for the Public Good.
According to the report, the framework should be an open data national resource to make it possible to share data about infrastructure assets.
The report claims that there will be many benefits from such an approach, including cutting train delays and traffic jams through better planned maintenance and repairs through sensor networks, and increasing competition between telecom and broadband providers by sharing data on signal and connection speeds.
Citing the UK’s strengths in artificial intelligence and machine learning, it also suggests that the Centre for Digital Britain leads the work, and collaborates with the Alan Turing Institute in developing the digital twin.
Lord Adonis said the benefits can only be realised if steps are taken to improve the quality, consistency and availability of data, with companies and government agencies sharing the data they have on how well their infrastructure operates – while at the same time taking account of the necessary security precautions.
He added: “We have a proud tradition of delivering good quality infrastructure that has changed the lives of entire communities – the challenge now is to embrace the newest technologies to make the most of the entire network.
“From smart meters to the latest AI innovations, there are real opportunities to transform our infrastructure network and significantly cut delays and disruptions.
“But for the country to see the real benefits of increased productivity, there needs to be a huge improvement in the quality of our infrastructure data and a fundamental culture shift towards more open data sharing to enable everyone to see how services can be improved even further.”