The Government of Ontario is testing the application and benefits of digital modelling technology, known as digital twins, to help deliver key infrastructure projects such as hospitals, highways and transit on time and on budget.

“Our government is exploring innovative new technologies to help build critical infrastructure faster and more cost-effectively,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “From start to finish, digital twins will help ensure that project partners involved in the building process have access to timely, accurate and state-of-the-art data to advance the delivery of Ontario’s infrastructure for our growing communities.”

Digital twins are virtual models of existing and planned assets that when mapped for construction projects, can be used to help identify and resolve problems before work begins. Using a digital twin for underground utilities, for example, can help reduce the risk of delays and cost overruns on projects.

The province has selected the Trillium Health Partners’ Peter Gilgan Mississauga Hospital redevelopment (No. 42 on ReNew Canada’s 2024 Top100 Projects report), the Ontario Place rebuild and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension (No. 18) to test the digital modelling technology. These projects were chosen because of their complex utility systems such as existing and planned electrical, water, gas and wastewater services. By identifying and mapping the location of these underground utilities in a virtual model, the province can help avoid costly and dangerous utility conflicts, which will help improve worker safety, save money and ensure projects are completed on time.

Ontario is investing $5 million to test the application and benefits of digital twins.

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Infrastructure Ontario is partnering with local and global organizations, including Toronto Metropolitan University and the United Kingdom’s Geospatial Commission, to leverage their experience with digital twins and explore solutions to help modernize the delivery of public infrastructure.

The City of Toronto and York Region are using digital twins to monitor wear and tear on water infrastructure in real-time to support better decision-making and allocation of public resources.

The City of Ottawa is leveraging aerial data collection and 3D mapping technology which could be used in digital modelling to enhance its urban planning and asset management programs.

Featured image: The Trillium Health Partners’ Peter Gilgan Mississauga Hospital redevelopment. (Infrastructure Ontario)

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