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LafargeHolcim, IBM to cut road costs by a third

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie
LafargeHolcim and IBM are to  develop the first digital materials platform for sustainable road solutions with cost reduction.
Known as ORIS, the platform for road design optimisation, can reduce road project costs by about one-third and carbon emissions by up to half.
In a statement by LafargeHolcim Regional Head and Executive Committee member, Marcel Cobuz, the group stated that it would work with IBM Services to further develop ORIS, which can, in addition to cost reduction, help in tripling road durability and usage lifespan.
“ORIS allows decision-makers, road infrastructure authorities and project investors to improve road construction and sustainability and reduce inefficiencies through smart project design. This is especially timely as governments design stimulus packages to revive economic activity post COVID-19 while also responding to the impact of climate change,” Cobuz stated.
He noted that an average of 700,000-kilometre or 435,000-mile new roads were being built globally yearly, adding that improving road quality and resilience would help reduce the massive amount of carbon emissions attributed to transportation.
According to him, the cost of construction varies depending on location, climate, vehicle types and traffic volumes and remains a complex challenge to define the most sustainable and cost-effective mix of building materials and technologies early in the design phase.
On the objecives of ORIS, Cobuz said the platform assesses road pavement designs from various perspectives and recommends efficient construction and maintenance patterns with local materials availability and capabilities.
He pointed out that ORIS supports public policies that conserve natural resources, enabling a more local and circular economy in road construction.
“We are accelerating the digitalisation of our solutions for sustainable and high-performance construction.With global solutions like ORIS, we are committed to leading the way in low-carbon and circular construction as well as responsible natural resource consumption for roads and beyond. We have already entered into pilots with different partners, such as road authorities, international financing institutions and engineering firms to use ORIS in developed and emerging markets,” Cobuz said.
He added that the group intends to leverage IBM’s portfolio of digital platforms, hybrid clouds, digital design services, as well as IBM’s expertise in machine learning, artificial intelligence and industrial Internet-of-Things.
Vice President, Industrial Solutions, IBM, Hervé Rolland, said data-driven solutions and digital technologies have the potential to transform road construction towards more sustainable, circular, low-carbon, low-resource and cost-efficient techniques.

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