Special projects

As a company InTouch has always been interested in innovation and discovery, along with a number of partners from both industry and academia we have undertaken various innovative and developmental projects.  Our interest lies in solving our customers real problems with robust innovative solutions and where possible bringing them to market.   


The rail network relies on an extensive system of trackside drains to remove surface water and minimise the risk of flooding and damage to the network. Failure to maintain the drainage infrastructure can have significant cost and safety implications for the parent asset; such as delay minutes, poor track geometry, line closures and the likelihood of earthwork failures.

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The project's focus is on improving the performance of the rail infrastructure's drainage system - a critical, yet often overlooked element of the network infrastructure in order to help "design, build and operate railway infrastructure at reduced cost".

Our approach is to leverage previous work on an innovative self-learning system for maintaining drainage networks in the highways sector and adapt this technology – including the IoT sensor network, data models and decision support system - for use in the rail sector. This represents a major advance in the state of the art as it will address key challenges identified by Network Rail and enable proactive maintenance of trackside drainage assets. Our consortium includes Network Rail as a challenge owner, InTouch Ltd as a technology supplier and primary route to market, and a strong science base consisting of the Transport Systems Catapult and Lancaster University. The resulting system will be tested on 11 miles of Network Rail test track.

To learn more about how TrackWater works, watch our video.

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Smart Clean

Funding for a 12 month feasibility study was granted to InTouch Ltd in 2014 by Innovate UK alongside partners Lancaster University and Carillion PLC. 

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The project aimed to assess the feasibility of using environmental and IoT highways data to minimise the environmental impact caused by pollutants from the highways entering into the UK’s waterways.  Moreover, we set out to research whether reducing contaminants in highways run off could help the UK in meeting EU legislation which is due to impact by 2020.  Not meeting these targets could lead to potential fines of £1m per day where waterbodies do not meet certain standards. 

The project manually sampled and analysed 300 gully contents in Redcar and Cleveland and assessed these for priority hazardous substances.  The project was able to identify trends based on this small number which indicated a much larger impact on the waterways.  Watch our animated video to learn more about Smart Clean

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Smart Clean 2

The Smart Clean 2 project started in 2015 and is ongoing.  Partners include: Lancaster University, Transport Systems Catapult, Carillion and Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald.  

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The project aims to bring both the feasibility study and the GAMMA project together to create one solution capable of predicting both flooding and contaminants on the highways.  Smart Clean involves taking over 3000 manual samples from the Bristol area, installing sensors in gullies and capturing information on a range of different environmental, social and highways datasets including traffic flow, weather, speed etc.  We are creating intelligent models to analyse the data.  We aim to generate predictions that will aid decision support tools for councils and contractors managing the network.  To learn more about this project you can view our information video for Smart Clean.

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GAMMA – Smart Water

In 2015, through the North West Aerospace Alliance and the GAMMA programme, InTouch received funding for a 12 month project to create a self-learning autonomous gully management solution for reduced flooding and increased efficiencies.  Developing on from our Smart Streets project, the project aimed to use a variety of highways related data sources.  We developed intelligent data models for the prediction of gully state allowing gully network maintainers to plan their activities according to need. 

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As part of the project we trialled our solution within Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council with our partners Carillion, who were contracted to maintain the drainage network. 

Sensors were installed within high priority gullies in order to monitor the water and silt levels.  These levels could then be modelled against other factors such as weather, foliage, traffic counts and traffic behaviours in order to predict the impact of weather events upon the drainage infrastructure.  This information was then used to 'target clean' only those gullies which need it, improving service delivery and bringing cost and efficiency savings to the contract.  Currently we are achieving circa 70% accuracy on predictions, these are now being remodelled and improved to provide customers with an improved solution.

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Welsh Slate

We were approached by Welsh slate to help resolve a two way radio issue at one of their quarries.  Due to the size and lay out of the quarry, two-way radio coverage between the quarry face and the yard area was not being achieved.

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It was established that the site needed a Talk Through base, however there was no mains electricity available to power the unit.  To address this issue we designed and built a solar panel unit which incorporated a Motorola DR3000 digital repeater, two x 80 watt solar panels, 1 solar charging regulator and a 100Ah battery.  The Digital system was installed and tested within 6 weeks of the order being placed.

All the coverage issues have been resolved with radio coverage being possible across the whole site.  Find out more about how InTouch and Welsh Slate work together.


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Smart Streets

Smart Streets was a 12 month, fully funded Internet of Things (IoT) project which ran from mid 2013 and included partners: Lancaster University, Carillion PLC, Amey, Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald and University of Birmingham.

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The Smart Streets project aimed to demonstrate the potential of the IoT to drive significant innovation in the UK's Highways sector and beyond.  By developing an open, interconnected Smart Streets Hub we aimed to create a vibrant, sustainable ecosystem of developers, data stream producers and consumers and validate this with 6 demonstrator applications.

The project ran a series of events including workshops, hackathons and competitions which proved the validity of the IoT in the Highways Maintenance sector.  The project also contributed to the creation of HyperCat, a data standard for IoT in industry which has since gone on to become a leading example for the sector.

Watch our animation to find out more about how the Smart Streets Hub works, or to register please follow this link to the Smart Streets Website


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Our Travel

Our Travel was a 3 year collaborative research and development project, part funded by The Technology Strategy Board from 2009 until 2012.  Partners included: Lancaster University and Carillion PLC.

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The Our Travel project aimed to design and develop the next-generation of travel information systems that would be:

  •  community-aware
  •  context-sensitive
  •  real-time
  •  multimodal
  •  delivered to the user at the point of travel

The project leveraged social networking and combined this with alternative information sources from highways, enabling users to make more informed decisions about how and when to travel.

The project outputs included systems that were trialled successfully in both rural and urban areas (Wray, Lancashire and Redcar and Cleveland) as well as during the FutureEverything Festival in Manchester to enable visitors to travel the city, visiting the festival venues effectively.

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FaithThe Faith Project was a 3 year part funded collaborative research and development project which ran from 2011 until early 2014.  Partners included: Lancaster University and Carillion PLC.

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The project aimed to understand and develop new trust models for remote workers on the highways by:

  • Developing a deep understanding of how trust relationships can be established and maintained in situations involving remote workers and multiple stakeholders
  • Explore the impact of new technology that allows detailed data capture in the field and how this technology can be used to build systems that influence the establishment and maintenance of trust
  • Designing and implementing prototype systems that include new models of trust between stakeholders and that are designed to enhance trust in the highways maintenance domain and relationships between stakeholders
  • Evaluating prototype systems and their impact on the stakeholders involved
  • Reducing the overheads currently associated with maintaining the UK infrastructure

The project produced guidance on how to embed trust into digital solutions for the end to end process and all stakeholders.  The outputs were trialled within Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, with the ‘FAITH Window’ being set up in public areas to keep everyone informed and build trust within the community. 

The FAITH project is seen as one of the most successful innovation projects InTouch has led, and the outputs, findings and trust models have influenced all of our developments and projects involving remote workers since.

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