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Digital Roads of the Future


Name: Dr Junxiang Zhu

Academic Division: Civil Engineering

Research Group: Digital Roads of the Future

Fellowship period: 3 January 2024 – 02 January 2027


Research Interests

Junxiang’s research interests include City Information Modelling (CIM), Building Information Modelling and Management (BIM), Geographic Information System (GIS), information fusion/integration, and digital construction.

Strategic Themes

Digital Twin

Research Project

Title: A graph-based approach for designing road digital twins

Theme: Digital Twin


Digital twinning is open to different solutions, and despite the difference in technologies used, these solutions should enable (i) productization, (ii) interoperability, (iii) data security, (iv) futureproof, and (v) static and dynamic data curation. My project for the FUTUREROADS program aims to address the second challenge of the Digital Twin theme: DT2 How can we design a Road Digital Twin. This challenge is caused by questions related to the definition of Digital Twin, i.e., its components, structure, and stakeholders, such as what exactly is a road Digital Twin? What is it made of, and how is it structured? To answer these questions, the following elements are required: Element 1 (E1) - highways stakeholders’ user and information requirements for DTs, Element 2 (E2) - a road Foundation Data Model (FDM), Element 3 (E3) - a road Reference Data Library (RDL), and Element 4 (E4) - a road Integration Cloud Architecture (IA). To deliver such elements, four objectives are identified in this project, including Objective 1 – Identifying the specific information requirements for road digital twin (to deliver E1 and E2), Objective 2 - Developing a graph-based reference data library for road assets (to deliver E3), Objective 3 – Developing an extensible, future proof and scalable road integration cloud architecture (to deliver E4), and Objective 4 – Validating the proposed approach for road digital twinning.


Before joining the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge as Marie Sklodowska-Curie Future Roads Fellow, Junxiang worked at Curtin University for 5 years as research assistant, research fellow, lecturer, and senior lecturer, where he managed and delivered courses relating to digital construction (such as BLDG2015 Building Information Modelling and Management and BLDG3016 Construction Planning and Scheduling) and involved in the development of the new Virtual Design and Construction course. He has won a teaching excellence award at Curtin and is an associate fellow of Higher Education Academy (AFHEA). He completed his PhD in Construction Management at Curtin in 2019 on the topic of integration of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Geographic Information System (GIS) for smart infrastructure management. He managed to develop a comprehensive framework for BIM/GIS integration and effective methods for using BIM information in GIS, which is fundamental to digital twinning. His recent work includes the development of a graphical representation of BIM information which supports efficient query of interconnected asset information. By far, he has authored/co-authored more than 20 papers published in peer-reviewed journals, such as Automation in Construction, and three of his papers were recognised as highly cited papers and hot papers.