Aecom set to design greener roads with AI carbon analysis at design stage

Image: 1241950 / Roads © Udo Weber |
Aecom is set to use carbon emissions analysis software on road projects to help develop more sustainable designs.

The consultant has signed a memorandum of understanding with digital start-up ORIS to use its software to assess the carbon emissions of road projects to enable its engineers to quickly compare and quantify different design solutions and scenarios.

As part of the agreement, Aecom and ORIS will also gather insights on road pavement materials and their lifecycle carbon impacts to help clients make data-driven decisions about the sustainability performance of road pavement designs.

Supported by AI, the ORIS Digital Pavement Design and Material Management Platform gathers data on locally available construction materials and international and local standards and considers factors including expected traffic and weather conditions to assess the lifecycle carbon and cost impacts of different design options.

It uses what is described as a “unique material sourcing database, which helps link projects to locally available and recyclable materials to encourage uptake of circular economy approaches”.

Pilot project on the A50

Aecom ran a pilot with ORIS to measure the sustainability performance of its designs for the A50 Groby Road Corridor project for Leicester City Council. The road improvement project will introduce cycle lanes, new and enhanced pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities and safety improvements at a busy junction.

The ORIS platform generated multiple pavement scenarios that considered factors including carbon emissions, cost estimation and material consumption over the project’s 40-year service life. The outputs provided the client with a full range of carbon and cost calculations to help inform decision-making about different materials and design solutions.

‘Disruptive technology’

James Burdall, head of pavement design and asset management at Aecom, said: “Our work with ORIS on the A50 Groby Road Corridor project allowed us to apply their disruptive technology to a live project and see first-hand the benefits it can bring. It’s a game changer for road pavement design that gives our clients a holistic view of the long-term impacts of different design options.

“There is huge potential to deploy this data-driven solution more widely across the roads, rail and other construction sectors. By signing an MOU with ORIS, we can offer this approach to more clients, helping them make more informed decisions that will reduce the cost and carbon impacts of their construction projects.”

ORIS is a spin-off from building materials giant Holcim.

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