What value does a digital twin offer to a city?

How does a twin help to tackle challenges within our urban spaces?

These were the questions posed by PCSG’s Gavin Cotterill in a knowledge sharing session hosted by the Smart Cities Council Australia and New Zealand Digital Twin Hub.

Digital twins are already extensively used by sectors including automotive and aerospace. Now, their adoption in the built environment is unlocking significant benefits around the planning, management and maintenance of our critical infrastructure and in the development of more resilient, sustainable cities.

Gavin’s presentation featured the proposed digital twin of Greater Hobart Region.  The twin is designed to support the Greater Hobart City deal – a 10 year partnership that will provide the framework to guide and encourage further investment in the city by embracing opportunities for growth and addressing key strategic and infrastructure challenges.

The Smart Cities Working Group, representing the three levels of government, is developing a business case for a Digital Twin for the city and a Greater Hobart Smart Precincts Strategy. Both initiatives are to support the digital transformation of Greater Hobart.

Close to 68 per cent of the global population is expected to live in cities by 2050. This concentration brings with it challenges around sustainable use of resources, the need to protect species and habitats and the need to reduce irreversible negative impacts to the environment.

Armed with detailed data about our critical infrastructure and its performance, owner-operators, planners and policy makers will be far better positioned to ensure efficient operation of assets, to manage asset reliability risks, optimise performance and to facilitate the re-use of components.

In the UK, major projects including HS2, the era-defining rail programme are developing digital twins and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has recommended the development of a national digital twin of the UK’s infrastructure.

In Australia, state governments such as Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria are developing and implementing their own digital twin strategies. Gavin said: “The Greater Hobart region is experiencing unprecedented growth, with an increased number of visitors and new residents every year.

The economy, in particular the construction sector and tourism, are thriving. However, this great wave of population growth is putting pressure on infrastructure capacity, housing affordability, services and the natural environment.

Given this context, it is vital that Hobart and its regions consider significant changes to how the region is planned, delivered and managed, to optimise capital investment, reduce whole life costs and ensure the right service delivery and social outcomes are achieved.”

The City Deal Plan, together with the Greater Hobart Strategic Partnership, are set, he said, to be the game-changers to lead Hobart’s growth as a vibrant, liveable and connected global city.

The Digital Twin will support the Deal objectives by providing a platform where key LGAs services’ data sets are federated and amalgamated into a single borderless’ environment. Councils will  be able to uncover abundant opportunities for new insights and innovation about people and places by interfacing and interacting  with a broader set of data.

The session was part of the Digital Twin Hub’s Community of Practice series.

For more information on PCSG’s work supporting organisations, cities and governments with the establishment of data-driven strategies and digital twins, please contact Gavin.Cotterill@pcsg-australia.com.au