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Automated Carbon Impact Assessment for highways schemes

Sweco is proud to have partnered with ORIS and Autodesk to develop a revolutionary tool for real-time Carbon Impact Analysis on highway projects, marking a significant leap in sustainable highway development, and setting new standards for eco-friendly design and efficiency.

Sweco’s pioneering collaboration with ORIS is driving digital transformation in highways design and eco-assessment. By loading our deep digital and multi-disciplinary transportation insights into Autodesk Civil 3D* software via the new ORIS plugin/add-in, we have transformed the way highway designs are conceptualised and executed.

Our joint venture has not only accelerated the design process, but has also integrated a groundbreaking approach to carbon assessment. The partnership has led to the creation of innovative features that are reshaping the industry’s landscape, making designs more efficient and environmentally conscious. The synergy between Sweco and ORIS has been instrumental in expediting the overall development of the Autodesk Civil 3D plugin, primarily through Sweco’s expertise in rigorous testing and debugging.

Technical Director at Sweco Stuart Guthrie says: “The ultimate benefit of this pathfinder project will be the creation of more sustainable, efficient, and environmentally-friendly highways infrastructure. For our clients, this translates into a significant competitive edge by delivering projects that are not only technologically advanced but also eco-conscious, aligning with global sustainability goals.”

Robin Hudson-Griffiths Director of Consulting UK at ORIS adds: “The ORIS Civil 3D plugin represents an important new innovation, garnering strong initial adoption from major engineering firms like Sweco, who have embraced the technology for client projects and  providing extensive testing and feedback to validate market fit. Ongoing collaboration and multiple implementations showcase a promising commercial trajectory.

Meaningful digital transformation

The enhancement of Civil 3D and the development of advanced carbon assessment tools are testament to this collaboration’s focus on technological advancement. It produces a powerful narrative of how digital technology can be harnessed for ecological and sustainable development, showcasing both Sweco’s and ORIS’ commitment to driving the industry forward with digital solutions that have a lasting positive impact on the environment.

* Autodesk Civil 3D is comprehensive detailed design and documentation software for civil infrastructure.

I’m particularly proud of the enhanced speed and efficiency we’ve achieved. We’ve transformed a task that could take several hours into one completed in minutes. This shift allows our experts to devote more time to innovative carbon projects. It clearly demonstrates the successful collaboration between ORIS and Sweco in developing this tool

Stuart Guthrie Sweco Technical Director and Project Lead

More joined-up Information Management

The integration of advanced features into Civil 3D, coupled with the innovative carbon assessment tool, highlights a significant leap in managing and processing complex data effectively. This collaboration enhances the ability to collect, analyse, and utilise data for more informed decision-making in infrastructure projects. It’s an example of how effective Information Management can lead to more efficient, accurate, and sustainable design and construction processes, showcasing Sweco and ORIS’ commitment to leveraging information technology for better project outcomes and environmental stewardship.

Tangible sustainability

The sustainability story of Sweco and ORIS’ collaboration is further enhanced by how it speeds up the overall design and construction process. By integrating advanced features into Civil 3D and developing an efficient carbon assessment tool, this partnership significantly reduces the time needed for design iterations, data analysis, and decision-making. This acceleration in the process not only leads to cost savings but also ensures a quicker response to sustainability challenges, allowing for the timely completion of environmentally friendly and technologically advanced infrastructure projects.

Moving to a circular economy

The tool’s capability to assess the distance to production sites and provide locations for recycling plants, as well as asphalt and concrete production, is a significant stride towards circularity. This approach promotes the use of local materials and recycling, reducing transportation emissions and waste. By optimising resource usage and encouraging recycling in network planning and pavement engineering, the tool directly supports the principles of the circular economy, where resources are utilised more efficiently and sustainably, contributing to a reduced environmental impact and fostering a more sustainable infrastructure lifecycle.

The benefits

The collaboration between Sweco and ORIS brings to the forefront a robust digital tool that integrates real material databases for enhanced energy and carbon performance prediction in infrastructure. This innovation, ORIS Materials Intelligence, significantly streamlines planning, execution, maintenance, and recycling processes on a single platform, reducing time and cost. A case study in the UK demonstrated a potential 56% reduction in global warming indicators from construction phases and 24% in total lifecycle savings.

With around 700,000 km of new roads built annually worldwide, the tool’s ability to impact up to 60% of road project costs and 85% of greenhouse gas emissions is significant. The tool’s comprehensive approach, conforming to LCA standards, covers the entire lifecycle of infrastructure, including use and maintenance phases, and incorporates an extensive database with verified material and carbon data, along with NASA climate data. This positions the tool as a key player in promoting sustainable, low-carbon, and resilient infrastructure development.