Arup’s visualisation tool bridges communities in Rwanda

The bridge visualisation tool from Arup
The bridge visualisation tool from Arup and Bridges to Prosperity
Arup, in partnership with Bridges to Prosperity (B2P), has designed a bridge visualisation tool to support bridge construction in East Africa and Central America.

The tool, developed as an offline app, creates interactive 3D models of trailbridges, detailing the construction stage by stage. B2P’s teams use it to train local communities, which often act as the main construction workforce on the projects. It has been tested on seven bridge projects in Rwanda, and is now available for all B2P projects.

B2P will also use the tool in the pre-construction phase when negotiating project proposals with government stakeholders. It will also enable more efficient operations during construction.

B2P is a US non-profit organisation that partners with local governments in Africa to connect communities via pedestrian bridges to curb poverty caused by rural isolation.

Severe seasonal flash flooding and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change mean millions of people in East African countries such as Rwanda risk their lives crossing swollen rivers on foot or navigating via dangerous log bridges, according to B2P. Conditions can become so treacherous that connections between local communities are sometimes completely severed. Finding work becomes much harder, while people can be cut off from vital services like hospitals, schools, and local markets.

A trailbridge built in Cyabami, northern Rwanda
A trailbridge built in Cyabami, northern Rwanda, using the bridge visualisation tool

Nicola Turrini, global partnerships manager at B2P, said: “I think the tool is extremely powerful. The magic is its simplicity. It’s been welcomed in our operations: from our foreman using the bridge tool while constructing the same bridge to explain precise construction steps to the workforce, to our partnerships team when talking about signing a new contract with a district representative in Rwanda.”

The project was led by Arup Amsterdam, and includes staff from Arup’s Madrid and London offices.

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