Posted on 03/12/20

Introducing AVA - The Future of Bridge Building

AVA, a consortium of companies including Network Rail, Expedition Engineering, X-Treme Systems, Hawkins\Browns and Walker Construction have released footage of their pioneering footbridge prototype.

The project, funded by Innovate UK and Network Rail aims to revolutionise the way footbridges are built across the rail network reducing, time, cost and carbon in the process. Launched online today, this is the first public stage of the project that will go on to see a full scale demonstrator bridge built across tracks and eventually aims to bring to market a system that changes the way bridges are commissioned, designed, installed and experienced. The AVA footbridge project is part of the TIES Living Lab programme. 

Anthony Dewar | Professional Head of Buildings and Architecture “80% of UK railway network is made up of small-medium sized stations and they are the starting point for almost a billion journeys… We know that making our stations more accessible encourages the use of our network, and we know that the increased use of our network encourages socio-economic development in communities around our railway stations therefore driving wider regeneration in local communities.”

“Our aim with the AVA project is that we will revolutionise the way that we approach station footbridge design, manufacture and installation. Meeting the targets that we’ve set in the project brief of significantly reducing cost, making it far more environmentally friendly, and reducing construction and installation time we believe will allow station footbridges to be rolled out at a much quicker timescale than they currently are. This will affect the whole of the UK as Network Rail manages the whole UK network. The AVA footbridge has the potential to drive increased accessibility across the whole of the UK’s railway stations.”

Innovative design, configurator technology and precision manufacture work together to deliver AVA, the adaptable bridge. Designed for manufacture off-site and assembled with minimum impact onsite – significant reductions in material and build time make AVA environmentally and cost effective. A light and robust stainless-steel frame and faceted cladding make AVA beautiful and low maintenance. AVA is simple to install and therefore can connect communities that have previously been unable to benefit from bridges. Created by a world 

class engineering, manufacturing and construction team, and designed to be different, the configurable nature of the bridge design means that AVA can fit any station, anywhere.

 AVA is designed to be different. 1: Pre-approved system for shorter pre-construction time AVA has a consistent system architecture and is tailored to fit  each location.

 2: Faster assembly for reduced costs Bridge components are produced, assembled and inspected in a controlled manufacturing environment which means AVA could be delivered and built significantly faster than competitors.

 3: Minimised negative climate impact AVA is designed for long-life flexibility and re-use. Components are light-weighted to reduce material used, and lifting equipment needed.

 4: Revolutionary dry, prefabricated foundation Shallow, steel grid foundations installed on screw piles mean minimum disruption to the platform environment and surrounding areas, and lower embodied carbon.

 5: High quality, durable materials Following circular economy principles AVA uses self-finished materials which are robust enough to withstand weather and vandalism and require minimum maintenance. The service period for AVA is estimated to be at least 120 years.

 6: Putting passengers first Walkways are designed to be safe and accessible. Good visibility around corners and considered platform sight-lines make AVA easy to navigate for vulnerable users. Lifts are an integral part of the bridge structure and mean access is equitable.

 7: Robust mechanics AVA has custom designed lifts with a dual system to minimise downtime. Which means lifts are more likely to be in service more often ensuring access is always an option.


 8: Weather resistant AVA’s walkway canopy means a more comfortable experience for users. The canopy is designed to create a micro-climate that stops the bridge cooling and frosting reducing the need for de-icing salts.

 9: Positive social impact AVA’s configurator tool can empower communities and stakeholders  to design a bridge which will support their needs.

 10: Any station, anywhere AVA, the adaptable bridge can be designed to fit all stations  and situations.