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Trimble Quantm puts Ostlänken in the right place!

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Map of road

"My view is that we could not have conducted an investigation of this size without Quantm," says Mark Lidback at Atkins, as he discusses how Trimble Quantm fundamentally changed his work.

The project Mark is referring to is Ostlänken, where he is tasked with carrying out a location study for the route through Linköping and investigating a new station location. The passage through Linköping is the last part of the Ostlänken line that runs between Järna and Linköping. West of Linköping, Ostlänken connects to the next part of the new main lines for high-speed trains—the Linköping-Borås section.

"One of the big challenges is to find a good connection to the next part of the new main line," says Mark. "Depending on how Ostlänken is finished and where the station in Linköping is placed, the Linköping - Borås section will also be affected. This leads to a variety of scenarios that would have been very difficult to handle without Quantm as an analysis tool.”

Hanna Francke, who is the project leader, points out all options that are investigated in a location study must be comparable. This means that they, for example, have the same end point, the same geometric requirements or the same speed requirements.

Trimble Quantm calculates and optimizes line lengths through multi-criteria analysis. In the programme, a model is built with terrain, ground conditions, buildings, protected areas, existing roads and railways, borders, restrictions and more. A number of different criteria are then created for the line section, which affect factors such as geometry, speed, structures and ground conditions. The model also includes prices for terracing, tunnelling, and mass transport. Quantm calculates a large number of proposals for line sections and sorts them according to cost and CO2 load.

Changes our entire way of working

Traditionally, an individual would work on a location investigation by adopting several different alternatives, then roughly projecting them to obtain surfaces, shaft volumes and construction requirements. This cost is then calculated more or less manually and different options are compared.

Mark Lidback presentingWith Quantm, the process is automated, making it incredibly easy to test different scenarios and inputs. Mark continues his reasoning by saying, "we get correct information early on and can direct the work in the right direction for the project. If there is a small need for construction in the project, we don't need to spend so much work on it, but instead focus on what has a bigger impact. Already at the kick-off meeting we see what the distribution of costs between possible solutions looks like and which corridors will be most efficient."

One of the greatest strengths of Quantm is the ability to quickly test different scenarios to be able to produce the effects of other stakeholders needs. Examples of such could be Municipal planning, other authorities' planned activities or changing technical requirements throughout the course of the project.

"Especially when it comes to the Ostlänken, it’s the municipal planning and changed speed on the track that have affected the project," says Mark.

Equalizes subject areas

Another thing that has been noticed by Atkins is that in Quantm it is easy to take in data that can traditionally be difficult to quantify, such as data on things like environmental protection, noise, land redemption and national interests. "In this way, we level the playing field, and let more subject areas submit their queries into the cost calculation," concludes Mark.