Home » How Aecom & ORIS used digitalisation to deliver sustainable road infrastructure design

How Aecom & ORIS used digitalisation to deliver sustainable road infrastructure design

by BiD Admin
ORIS, How Aecom & ORIS used advanced digitalisation to deliver sustainable road infrastructure design, sustainable road

ORIS can be used to promote a circular economy, reduce the environmental impact of construction projects and achieve sustainable infrastructure development goals. ORIS looks at how this was applied when they were hired by AECOM to optimise pavement design

During the initial design stage of a 1.6 km link-road for the UK’s Major Road Network, AECOM hired ORIS to optimise pavement design, taking into account environmental impact and maintenance needs.

Our analysis considered various factors such as road alignments, design sections, materials used, and maintenance requirements over a 60-year analysis period.

As the first construction materials intelligence platform for low impact infrastructure, ORIS offers tailored, innovative impact assessment capabilities.

By using AI/ML, data-driven insights and multiple criteria analysis, ORIS helps decision-makers identify the most cost-effective, environmentally friendly and long-lasting infrastructure design options solutions.

This project is an illustration of how ORIS can be used to promote a circular economy, reduce the environmental impact of construction projects and achieve sustainable infrastructure development goals. 

Project overview 

Different design options were considered including fully flexible pavement options compliant with DMRB standards,  with either a Thin Surface Course System (TSCS) or Hot Rolled Asphalt (HRA) surface course.

A Flexible pavement with a TSCS on a Hydraulically Bound Granular Mixture (HBGM) layer was also evaluated, and  rigid pavements were discarded from the pavement design options due to low traffic volume and initial cost comparison.

AECOM used the Whole Life Costing and Key Performance Indicators generated by the ORIS platform analysis to select the preferred pavement design.

The analysis included producing a 60-year maintenance life cycle plan and calculating the Net Present Service Value.

Routine maintenance activities involved crack sealing and surface dressing, as to renewal maintenance, asphalt overlays were discarded due to the presence of kerbs and street furniture such as manholes and gullies therefore only pavement inlays were considered in this case study.

Lastly, a 40-year pavement design life was considered, after which a full reconstruction shall be undertaken.

Alternative design options

Based on the analysis, AECOM was able to identify alternative design options that allowed:

  • £0.87M financial savings over the whole life time of the project, representing a reduction of 15% in costs
  • Reduction of 0.52M eq. CO2, reducing the carbon emissions by 15% over the 60-year analysis period
  • Reduction in the materials consumption of 14.6k tons, using less natural resources.

What were the key levers of improvement identified?

  • Local materials: The sourcing of local construction materials was prioritised
  • Circular economy: A locally available by-product (steel slag) derived from the steel industry was used in the surfacing of the permitted pavement designs to replace 50% of the aggregates, further reducing the consumption of natural resources while maintaining the performance standards

The advanced digitalization of construction materials – allowed by a digital platform such as ORIS, powered by AI/ML and data science – shows promising results in ensuring the transition of the construction industry towards delivering sustainable and cost effective road networks.


Build in Digital Stakeholder ORIS is a construction materials platform for a smart use of resources and low impact infrastructure.

Image: GLF Media/Shutterstock


Read next: AECOM and ORIS team up to reduce carbon impact of road projects

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