Industry Information

More Efficiency, Less Carbon – How We Approach AfA Project Delivery

October 6, 2022

The Victorian rail network achieved remarkable things. It connected different and often isolated parts of the country, it shrank journey times from days to hours and powered unprecedented economic growth.

But there were two issues that are highly relevant in the modern world that didn’t feature in the priorities of the rail pioneers.

There was little consideration of how to make this exciting new mode of transport accessible to all people. And in the age of steam there was next to no awareness of what carbon emissions would do to our climate.

The modern world demands a different view, and the Government has announced a series of initiatives to restore confidence in this area. The rail network is here to serve the needs of the nation. It must be made easy for as much of the population as possible to use it, which is what the Access for All programme aims to do. Achieving this goal will help to reduce car journeys and may even make car ownership less of a necessity. The effect this has on helping the nation become net zero carbon could be significant.

Reduce Complexity, Increase Value

The philosophy of delivering more with less and more quickly drives our approach to Access for All (AfA) projects, along with our assured & safe delivery, exceptional value and sustainable legacy key pillars. We look for opportunities to simplify projects and apply modern offsite methods wherever possible. We favour value engineering and avoid over engineering. That way budgets go further and the benefits are enjoyed by rail travellers much sooner.

This approach could be seen in action during the Bentley Station AfA upgrade. Working with our design partner we proposed a variation from the standard designs to include an uncovered overbridge and stairways. The design change saved over £350k and reduced embodied carbon emissions by 20%.

“Octavius and design partner Arcadis produced a proposal that was better value for money and saved on embodied carbon. These benefits helped Network Rail and the DfT make an informed decision on the derogation application and proceed with this solution betterment.”

Becky Gray, Project Manager, Network Rail.

The precise demands and technical details are different for each AfA project. Octavius engineers keep an open mind to identify the most cost, time and carbon efficient solution in each case.

If you’d like to know more about Octavius Infrastructure’s innovative approach to AfA project delivery, contact Mike Todd ( or visit our Transport Infrastructure Resource Centre.

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