Bryden Wood’s automated cable routing management system, which has generated significant time savings for Transport for London, won the Best Application of Technology category, sponsored by Digital Construction Week, at the Digital Construction Awards last night (12 July).
London Underground’s tunnels are tight and cluttered. Plotting the most effective route for new cabling requires a detailed survey of the existing tunnel surface, and then meticulous planning to allow for a wide range of complex variables. It is a time-consuming and labour-intensive manual process that put teams of people in difficult, dirty and dangerous environments, while also disrupting public transport.
Bryden Wood, working with Transport for London (TfL), has developed ARC: data-driven design automation technology for underground signal upgrades that makes cable routing faster, safer and smarter.
The ARC process starts with collation of as many input variables as possible to establish machine-readable rules. Then comes a point cloud survey of the tunnel, which is analysed. The rules then recommend the optimal routing of cables. ARC also outputs 2D information and 3D models offering various options for cable installation.
“The solution is innovative and relevant. This is a real challenge solved using technology that exists in other sectors but used to its absolute strengths in this practical example. It has positive impact on finances, time, safety and quality.”
Bryden Wood and TfL successfully tested the process on sections of tunnel (from Liverpool Street to Moorgate, and from Bayswater to Notting Hill Gate), before the software was handed over to TfL.
The project was delivered on time and to budget.
Cable routing design typically takes months or even years. Results from ARC’s tests show that once the point cloud survey is complete, TfL can provide design outputs in less than two days. ARC also reduces network disruption and safety risks for the workforce.
Giuseppe Miccoli, associate – creative technologies at Bryden Wood, said: "It’s a project we’ve put a lot of effort into. It was groundbreaking, challenging. I think the award is great recognition of our work. Our solution is a great improvement on the way things are done in the tunnels, which is not a safe environment to work in, so technology can help a lot."
Best Application of Technology shortlist:
- Social Value Digital Hub | VINCI Construction UK
- Digital progress tracking with automated reporting | Taylor Woodrow
- Improving the operational performance of higher and further education buildings | Integrated Environmental Solutions with the University of Edinburgh and Schneider Electric
- The Living Lab | Ethos Engineering
- Royal Free London NHS Capital Projects PMO reporting tool | Royal Free London Property Services, in conjunction with Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and Turner & Townsend