It’s often said that the battle for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals will be won or lost in cities. With over half of the world’s population living in urban environments – a number expected to double by 2050, when 70 percent of us will live in cities – urbanisation is one of the most transformative trends of the 21st century.
Urbanisation brings with it many opportunities. But it also creates new challenges as well as exacerbating existing ones, including:
– High population density
– Inadequate infrastructures
– Autonomous transport
– Lack of affordable housing (and other resources)
– Climate change (and other environmental threats)
– The fourth industrial revolution
Even so, these problems provide extremely fertile ground for innovation. This is why today, on World Cities Day, we are excited to announce that Jacobs and MTR Elizabeth line have agreed to offer optional internships.
Jacobs leads the global professional services sector providing solutions for a more connected, sustainable world. Jacobs is helping to tackle challenges to make the future work better – cleaner air and water, connected communities, resilient environments, and improved security. These are important, highly complex issues which are important to making the future better for all.
For example, Jacobs is currently managing a 10-year program, the Thames Estuary Asset Management (TEAM 2100) programme, with the Environment Agency and partners, to refurbish and replace flood defences in London and the Thames Estuary. This programme – the largest of its kind – is one of the UK government’s top 40 infrastructure projects. 175km worth of flood defences protect around 1.3 million people and £275 billion worth of property. But, with sea levels in the Thames Estuary predicted to rise as much as 88cm within this century, London has a difficult problem on its hands.
Jacobs is using a range of innovative technologies, including submersible drones and 3D augmented reality software, to help tackle the problem. To date, the team have identified more than 260 possible innovations expected to deliver £100 million in efficiency savings over the 10-year programme. Jacobs is effectively defining the future of flood risk management in the UK.
Jacobs employs more than 9,000 people in the UK – multidisciplinary specialists, from traditional civil engineering specialists, to economists, urban designers, cyber security specialists, and aquatic ecologists.
MTR Elizabeth line is the operator of the Crossrail concession and is currently running TfL Rail services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, Paddington and Hayes and Harlington, and Paddington and Heathrow.
Once the Elizabeth line opens, the company’s operations will eventually cover all aspects of train and passenger service operations including:
– A fleet of 70 brand new high capacity trains, 200m long, each featuring nine walk-through carriages
– Up to 24 trains per hour in each direction through the central tunnel section
– The operation of 28 stations, serving 41 stations in total
– 250 metre platforms – more than twice the length of current Underground platforms
– 700 timetabled services per weekday
MTR Elizabeth line have a strong, forward-facing sustainability strategy that aims to deliver economic, environmental, and social improvements to the capital. This outlook is important as the Elizabeth line will play a pivotal role in ensuring London is able to adapt to its increasing population, which is set to reach 10 million by 2030. The Elizabeth line will provide an estimated 10% increase to central London’s rail capacity, carrying an estimated 200 million annual passengers. It will boost the UK economy by billions of pounds while supporting thousands of new jobs and homes.
Cities have always been drivers and incubators of technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, industry, and creativity. Successful urbanisation – urbanisation which fosters such an environment – is an enormously important endeavour, and one which will shape the future of cities for many years to come. We are excited to work with Jacobs and MTR Elizabeth line, aiming, together, to leave a positive legacy for London.