Digital twins for urban planning to save $280B in costs by 2030

August 04, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Digital twins for urban planning to save $280B in costs by 2030
A new market research report from tech market advisory firm ABI Research finds that deployment and use of digital twins in urban contexts are gaining momentum as cities increasingly discover the benefits of digital twins for both the planning and operational management of their assets.

According to the report, cities are expected to achieve cost savings of $280 billion by 2030 by using digital twins for more efficient urban planning.

“Digital twins will become the ultimate tool for city governments to design, plan and manage their connected infrastructure and assets in an efficient and cost-effective way," says Dominique Bonte, Vice President End Markets at ABI Research. "Cost savings can be obtained in key areas, such as energy and utilities, transportation, safety and security, and infrastructure (roads/buildings). However, urban digital twins also offer many other advantages in terms of supporting and improving sustainability, circularity, decarbonization, and the overall quality of urban living.”

Efficiencies can be achieved across a wide range of asset categories and use cases:

  • First time right designs of buildings and other physical infrastructure avoiding expensive modifications after completion
  • Energy-efficient building designs maximizing solar capacity yielding lifetime long energy savings
  • Resilient and safe infrastructure designs reducing policing and emergency response costs
  • Optimized designs of utilities, streetlight, and surveillance networks to achieve the same coverage target with less capex
  • Design of covid-19 proof buildings resulting in healthcare savings  
  • Digital twins enabling efficient eGovernment in terms of the seamless exchange of data with citizens for mediation purposes.

Leading suppliers offering urban digital twin planning solution suites include:

  • Engie-owned Siradel (telco, surveillance, streetlights, mobility)
  • Dassault Systèmes (generative building design, energy, airflow, green infrastructure)
  • Siemens (buildings, electric digital twin)
  • ANSYS (lighting, Covid-19)
  • IES (energy-efficient campuses)
  • Bentley Systems (ports, water distribution)
  • Microsoft
  • AutoDesk
  • PTV (transportation)
  • CityZenith (districts)

Some vendors specialize in specific capabilities such as physics modeling and simulation of light, heat, airflow, noise, radio wave propagation (ANSYS, Siradel), generative design (Dassault Systèmes), and dynamic modeling of vehicle and pedestrian traffic (PTV). Underlying all solutions, says the firm, is their capability for virtual prototyping and scenario analysis.

“While the cost-saving advantages of digital twins allow cities to achieve fast ROIs," says Bonte, "the increasingly complex nature of connected

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