Infrastructure consultancy firm AECOM has signed a memorandum of understanding with digital start-up ORIS to collaborate on carbon impact assessments for road designs.
The organisations will pursue joint opportunities for their combined approach, with AECOM using the ORIS software to assess the carbon emissions of road projects to enable its engineers to quickly compare and quantify different design solutions and scenarios.
Under the MOU, AECOM and ORIS will also gather further 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 artificial intelligence, the ORIS Digital Pavement Design and Material Management Platform gathers data on locally available construction materials and international and local standards and considers factors like expected traffic and weather conditions to assess the life cycle carbon and cost impacts of different design options.
It employs a unique material sourcing database, which helps link projects to locally available and recyclable materials to encourage uptake of circular economy approaches.
The disruptive technology enables AECOM to quickly measure the sustainability performance of different design scenarios during construction and maintenance.
With data generated rapidly, using the software can greatly reduce the design process when compared to manually assessing different factors.
The MOU follows a successful pilot project, with AECOM working with ORIS to measure the sustainability performance of its designs for the A50 Groby Road Corridor project for Leicester City Council.
Funded by the government’s Transforming Cities Fund, this road improvement project will introduce cycle lanes, new and enhanced pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities and safety improvements at a busy junction.
The digital 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.
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.”
Nicolas Miravalls, CEO of ORIS, added: “Already accessible in Germany and France, this MOU with AECOM will support further deployment across the UK and Europe, to improve infrastructure sustainability and performance.
“The ORIS team is proud and committed to accompany AECOM in their ambition to follow a disruptive approach to road structure design optimisation and carbon life cycle calculations.”