Smartflow enables digital twin

Infrastructure information for railways and roads is important for many parties. This could be for example information related to operations and maintenance, planning data for reconstruction work, map production, navigation, and traffic control. The information always needs to be up-to-date, accurate and complete if it is to be useful. Today the term “Digital Twin” is often used to describe the information in registers where the data is stored.

A large amount of data is generated during infrastructure building projects, often in the form of BIM models. Manual or automated Inventory of existing facilities will further contribute to substantial amounts of data being added to existing records. This data tends to remain unused in various databases despite the fact that it could play an important role in other parts of the business. 

SmartFlow project 

Between September 2020 and December 2021, Triona led the SmartFlow project together with stakeholders The Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens Vegvesen). The project was financed by Vinnova and InfraSweden with additional staffing from Trimble and Ramboll. 


The approach for the project was to develop a solution – SmartFlow Server - based on established international standards. SmartFlow will enable data transformation from infrastructure projects and existing asset inventory to information being used by various parties and for various purposes. The result is a Digital Twin with data related to traffic networks and their assets. The image above shows the main data flow in SmartFlow. Commonly used standards, both internationally agreed, and de facto business standards are a precondition for effective integration and data exchange between different computer systems and the actors interacting with SmartFlow. Parties are e.g., infrastructure owners such as traffic organizations and municipalities, subcontractors, consultants, or other parties within construction, operations and maintenance. 

Standards allow for more effective integration 

The main standards used were World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) standards for Linked Data and Semantic Web, which enable effective integration with various systems. These standards are produced to facilitate syntactic and semantic interoperability or the ability of computer systems to exchange data with unambiguous, shared meaning. For BIM models and inventory data the IFC standard ISO 16739-1:2018 is used. The DCAT standard with extension GeoDCAT-AP is used for representation of geographic metadata. 

In order to technically verify the solution, a number of test cases were defined in the project together with Trafikverket and Statens Vegvesen, e.g. data on bridges, culverts, crash barriers and lighting poles, etc. For Swedish test cases, the classification system CoClass was also used as a way to unify the different conceptual models present in the test cases. For Norwegian test cases, the data catalogue from the Nasjonal Vegdatabank was primarily used as a common model. 

Technical solution 

The technical solution was developed as a web and server platform using C#/Microsoft.NET and the Open Source .NET Library dotNetRDF. 

Functionality for accessing, processing, and storing data and metadata, according to W3C standards, is managed by the graph database GraphDB. Other important solution components were BIM-Viewer from Trimble for 3D visualization of BIM models and ThinkGeo for map visualization. 

The application runs as a Microsoft Azure Cloud service. 

Valuable results 

The project has shown that a solution such as SmartFlow can add a lot of value. Development is rapid both in terms of BIM and inventory of existing facilities, for example by using AI. Infrastructure owners often manage data in several "silo systems", which are specialized in different areas and the data structures and concepts used are unique to each system. Traditionally, data exchange to and from these silo systems has been carried out using bespoke solutions. 

W3C's Linked Data and Semantic Web offers great opportunities to manage these data flows on a general level (i.e., exactly what the technologies are designed for): 

  • SmartFlow works well for automated transformation between different standards, vocabularies, and structures/information models, i.e., for transformations between different information structures, for example between IFC and a management system’s internal structures. This could apply to e.g., operation and maintenance, traffic information and traffic management, etc. 
  • SmartFlow allows for concepts and conceptual relationships to be primarily defined where the domain knowledge is located, i.e., in the business, instead of being "hidden" in various information silo systems. 
  • BIM standards are needed to be able to effectively assimilate data from infrastructure projects. 


This provides the preconditions for creating and working with common data sources (master data) in an efficient and quality-assured way for the entire life cycle of the infrastructure. 

The whitebook For Linked Open Data (LOD) describes in Swedish the W3C technology foundation for Linked Data/Semantic Web and its advantages. 

The SmartFlow project result is documented in detail in the final project report on InfraSweden’s website. 

The way forward 

Both Trafikverket and Statens Vegvesen have decided to continue working with the results from SmartFlow. The goals are to carry out further tests, gradually increase the knowledge and awareness of standards and technologies in their organizations and to begin the implementation of this type of solution for data exchange from-and-to their own organizations. In the short term, the following initiatives were decided: 

  • Trafikverket continues to work with technologies and solutions in a number of different areas, including requirements for deliveries according to the IFC standard, where data is to be transferred to a number of different information systems for roads, railways, bridge structures, installations, etc. 
  • Statens Vegvesen is working on a Proof-Of-Concept called "Felle's infrastruktur for dataomforming ", which covers general management of data deliveries from the National Road Database. 

Project related links: 



Customer: Infra Sweden

Business area: Transport Infrastructure

Problem: At infrastructure owners in Sweden and the rest of Europe, there is a great need for efficiency within different types of transport, as well as creating better conditions for planning, building, maintaining, and using the transport infrastructure. This places new and greater demands on the quality and structure of the digital definition of the physical facility in the form of e.g., Digital Twins, traffic network and facility registers.

Solution: Specify and develop a technical solution to reduce the gap between the facility's physical and digital description by using relevant standards and technology for BIM and GIS to create Digital Twins and to integrate facility data with other information relevant to the transport infrastructure, e.g., traffic volumes, accidents, and traffic regulations.

Keywords: #facility data #digital twin #transport infrastructure #TNE #linked data #IFC #Semantic web #w3c #buildingSMART #BIM #Open BIM