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Annual review 2022

Every viaduct abuts an embankment, as shown here at the end of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal Viaduct

How to make HS2 (settlement prediction) 80% faster 


It traditionally takes up to two hours to analyse settlement data gathered from individual monitoring instruments on newly constructed railway embankments. A new app, IMITE, cuts the process to just 10 minutes. With thousands of datasets to process across HS2, time savings swiftly add up to months.


HS2 Phase 1 embankments and cuttings


Balfour Beatty-Vinci JV (BBV) for HS2 Ltd


England, UK


Geotechnical engineering, monitoring and settlement analysis, data science, software development


Before slab track, electrification and signalling equipment are installed, the embankments/cuttings must all but stop settling. Depending on the asset, as little as 5mm and a maximum of 60mm settlement/heave is permitted over the railway’s 120-year design life. Providing that assurance requires the full length of each earthwork to be monitored for 18 months. Many thousands of measurements must be logged and analysed, tracking settlement/heave to the point it slows almost to a stop. Using traditional methods, the task would have required the equivalent of two engineers full-time for nine months.


We saw the opportunity to radically improve time efficiency by automating some of the most time-intensive activities. Our in-house productivity team developed a digital solution with the aim of unlocking time and cost savings on Phase 1 earthworks.

HS2 will ultimately connect London with Glasgow and Edinburgh. Construction is under way on phases 1 and 2a.