We attended London First's London Infrastructure Summit on the 20th and 21st October.
Some big questions were tackled, but in the shadow of COVID-19 and all the unknowns around the implications for London and Infrastructure.
What if the ability to track, trace and communicate the risk of infection was integrated through transport networks? Balancing privacy concerns with the potentially limitless applications, data is now being considered as vital Infrastructure in itself. The London Data store was revolutionary 10 years ago, and it's use and development has shown it is hard to predict what the data will be used for - the data itself enabled wide ranging innovation.
There was a lot on the post Covid contract between London and the rest of the country, and even the rest of the world as a global city interrupted. Despite the levelling up agenda, London will undoubtedly be needed as a key driver of the recovery, and unlocking air travel through rapid testing is needed, now.
An ever important question remains as to how key transport Infrastructure will be funded, though it was generally agreed that unless more tax is retained locally, Infrastructure could and should take a key role in a "Keynesian" recovery with debt funded government investment into London. Linking back to data, new tech and work patterns could fundamentally change the peak requirements for transport in the day - it may be possible to alter capital spending through the use of tech and manage or change demand this way. However, permanent reductions to the use of public transport were not widely expected.