Highways technology company Gaist is working work with TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) to develop a ‘digital twin’ of the UK’s road network, using data captured in near real-time.
The development of such a digital twin “could revolutionise how we plan and manage the road network”.
According to Gaist and TRL such a twin could play a vital role in managing road repairs, prioritising investments and interventions and reducing delays and disruption for road-users. It would also help planners and policymakers to better understand the useful lifetime of an asset and the demands it is likely to face as well as support predictions around how city transport systems can respond to the multiple burdens placed on them.
Exploring the case for a twin is one focal area of a new collaboration announced between Gaist and TRL – the global centre for innovation in surface transport and mobility and provider of leading-edge research into infrastructure, vehicles and human behaviours, including asset data capture and management.
The tie-up – a centrepiece of Gaist’s new partnerships programme – will see Gaist and TRL work together to solve global roads challenges, shape the road asset data and standards landscape and explore potential advanced applications of roads data. They will also examine the role of roads data in supporting more efficient, greener and safer transport infrastructure.
As part of the collaboration, Gaist will join TRL’s Smart Mobility Living Lab London – the lab developed by TRL with partners from government and industry to enable innovative mobility organisations to test new products and services safely on live public roads.
Andrew Loveless, Gaist CRO, said: “This important alignment between two domain experts marks a milestone in the global application and exploitation of detailed, high-definition roads data.
“Together with TRL, we will present the “best of British” in asset data capture and asset management systems to international customers and work together to push forward our industry and promote UK exports abroad.”
Ryan Hood, Head of Digitisation of Transport at TRL, continued: “This collaboration underlines TRL’s commitment to work with innovative digitally-orientated organisations to shape the future of road asset management and wider transport, both globally and here in the UK. The advanced thinking and ambition that Gaist demonstrates, alongside the provision of new data sources and insights, mirrors our own thinking about the future direction of the market.”
Advances in mobile technology and capturing techniques, a reduction in the cost of sensors and other equipment, and the implementation of new business models, has taken the gathering and analysis of rich, detailed data about the road and roadscape to a new level. Gaist is at the forefront of these advances, with its intelligence utilised by countries around the globe.
The demand for its insights has boomed with its traditional customer base of local authorities now extended to broadband and utilities organisations alongside those at the forefront of the Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAVs) revolution.
As part of the collaboration with TRL, the capability to ingest Gaist’s road asset data will be integrated into TRL Software’s cloud-native iROADS asset management system, enhancing each other’s existing data products and services to bring greater value to clients across the globe.
Gaist recently announced that it will further explore parallel markets such as the electric vehicle sector after securing £2.1 million investment from the active growth capital investor BGF.