Arup and Bridges to Prosperity design bridge visualisation tool to support local connectivity in East Africa

A standing woman with trees behind as a background Snezhana Zapreva Europe Press Office
10 May 2022

Arup has partnered with non-profit organisation Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) to design the Bridge Visualization Tool which will provide bridge construction support to local communities in East Africa.

A rapidly changing climate, alongside flash-flooding characteristic of local rainy seasons, is causing major river floods across a number of rural communities in east Africa, forcing the local residents to cross dangerous swollen rivers on foot or via informal, timber-log bridges.

Bridges are essential links that enable the local community to thrive, by providing safe access to a range of essential services from hospitals to schools as well as local markets.

To safeguard this connectivity, Arup has developed a purpose-built digital tool alongside Bridges to Prosperity to help B2P train the local community, who often serve as the main construction workforce on bridge projects.

With hundreds of new bridges already planned in East Africa in the years to come, our Bridge Visualisation Tool will support future bridge building projects.

A person looking at a notepad A person looking at a notepad

The easy-to-use tool, developed as an offline app, provides users with a step-through sequence through interactive 3D models, breaking down basic bridge design and construction concepts for a non-technical audience. 

Our partner Bridges to Prosperity is a US non-profit organisation that partners with local governments in Africa to connect communities via pedestrian bridges to curb poverty caused by rural isolation. 

The tool has been extensively tested on seven bridge construction projects in Rwanda.

“Connecting people is at the heart of the work we do. Despite the pandemic, we’ve been able to draw on Arup’s global team of bridge design experts to develop an easy-to-use tool with B2P that can best serve local communities, and ensure they stay connected to essential services, from hospitals to schools and markets,” said Charlotte Murphy, Senior Bridge Engineer.

With the Bridge Visualization Tool, users can:

  • map out the entire construction sequence  

  • check out detailed information about elements such as cable anchorages 

  • inspect a detailed model of each construction phase, including reinforcement for parts of the construction work that are especially difficult to build 

This is a ground breaking opportunity for our organisation, enabling us to show the impact of our work when it is still to be carried out, and is sure to contribute to the construction and funding of hundreds of bridges in the years to come. ” Brandy Bertram B2P VP of Development

Arup’s tool will also be used in the pre-construction phase to support B2P in the negotiation of proposed bridges with key stakeholders such as government partners and during construction to allow for more efficient operation, with fewer mistakes.  

Available now, the Bridge Visualization Tool is publicly accessible and free to use, downloadable from Google store or Apple store