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Aims and objectives of the AIR research project

This page presents:

  • an overview of the Aims and objectives of the AIR research project; and

  • the potential benefits of the research to participating metro organisations and their interfacing stakeholders, globally; and

  • for the development of truly sustainable urban management, internationally, through improved  urban and transport policies and procedures, and national and international standards.

Aims and objectives of the AIR research project

With the participation of metro organisations, from across the world, the aim of the AIR research project is to develop a standardised Asset Interface Register and related processes of evidence-based data generation and sharing between interfacing stakeholders. This will enable those participating organisations to:

  1. identify and clarify the occurrences of the interfaces between their infrastructure and its environment; 

  2. generate evidence-based data and reasoning for occurrences of the interfaces, applicable to their whole lifecycle;

  3. improve internationally applicable, standardised approaches, to interface analysis, data generation and management, within the organisation and with interfacing stakeholders;

  4. achieve common comprehension of the interfaces within the participating metro organisation and interfacing stakeholders, to effect development of BIM processes and asset data management;

  5. achieve effective sustainable urban management, through shared inter-departmental and interfacing stakeholder comprehension of the interfaces.

The implementation of the AIR processes are not to replace existing procedures within those metro organisations, but it is to complement them, for more effective asset data management.

Operationalising the AIR processes

Analysing the interfaces and gathering evidence-based data

The workflow in Fig.1, represents the processes of identifying an occurrence of the presence, property, and protection interfaces of UUMI and its environment through to archiving of data and reasoning for organisational decision making, within a 10-zone loop.

These were described in Darroch et al., 2020b, as:

  • Zones A to C - the determination of what is required to be analysed;

  • Zones D to F - gathering and analysis of required source data and validation of the findings;

  • Zones F-H - the achieved level of comprehension required from the analysis enabling decision making;

  • Zones H-A - recording of the decisions for future reference and archiving of those decisions and gathered data for future reference.

Fig.2 shows the processes of AIR within two workflows. The right hand workflow shows the approach to analysing the interfaces; the left hand side workflow shows the processes leading to publication and sharing of the gathered evidence-based data.

Through the application of these processes, the evidence-based data, which enables organisational interface management decision-making, is retained, shared, updated, and employed by all interfacing stakeholders, internally or externally to an organisation (Fig.3).

The evidence-based data therefore forms the basis for any future analysis of the occurrences of the interfaces for the whole lifecycle of the infrastructure and its environment. Thus, enabling cost and time savings, for the current and future management of the interfaces between metro infrastructure and its environment.

Fig.2: the AIR process workflows  representing the inter-connectivity of the application of the conceptual framework and the AIR processes for effective recording of findings of analysis and stakeholder acceptance. Source: Darroch, 2020.


Fig.3: Showing the indicative feed in – feed out processes of AIR in respect of indicative metro internal stakeholders. Source: Darroch, 2020.


Through this process, the evidence-based data generated and published, can be accessed by multi-disciplinary stakeholders within a metro organisation and by interfacing stakeholders of that infrastructure owner/maintainer.

The multi-disciplinary evidence-based data gathered through the analysis would also provide evidence-based data for the implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and asset management processes (BSI, 2020; ICE, 2020).

Which processes would subsequently ensure effective sustainable urban management, within densifying cities, globally.  The proposed AIR outputs would therefor form pre-BIM data gathering.

Further outputs of the research

Whilst there are potential organisational benefits to participation in the research, there are also national and international benefits, which include, but are not limited to (Fig.4):

  1. participation in an international research project to advance practitioner and academic credibility;

  2. collaborative submission of journal papers and conference attendance, to share the findings from the research with practitioners and academics, internationally;

  3. benchmarking with other metro organisations globally, to further develop and refine common working practices;

  4. informing policy-makers of the complex multi-disciplinary nature of metro infrastructure and its environment and the need for sustainable urban management, through policy development;

  5. participation in the development and amendment to local, national, and international, asset management standards, policies, and procedures.

Fig.4: showing the anticipated benefits of standardised internationally applicable analysis of the interfaces. Source: Darroch, 2020.


Updates on progress of the research

As the research progresses this website will be updated, within the limitations imposed by the often confidential nature of academic and organisational research. (Hence the brief overview of the research!)

However, there is hope for collaborative journal publications and conference presentations by the AIR research project team and collaborating metro organisations. These will be added to the Bibliography list as appropriate. Additionally, an official research website will be developed.

Continue to the Examples of the interfaces page, for some short descriptions of sample case studies.

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