AASHTOWare Bridge Updates

December 12, 2016

AASHTOWare Bridge Management
Next Major Release:  5.2.3 – November 2016

New Features:
  • Capability to perform life cycle cost analysis
  • Capability to perform network level analysis
  • Tracking and reporting of FHWA’s 23 metrics
  • Dashboards for easy data visualization and tracking performance measures
  • Enhanced User Help System
  • Tunnels module to record and track National Tunnel Inventory data as required by FHWA
5.2.3 Training (www.aashtowarebridge.com)
  • Informational videos for users to walk-through release 5.2.3.
  • Eighteen (18) videos covering a wide-range of topics. Additional videos are planned for the future.
  • Step by step examples will be included via an appendix to the BrM 5.2.3 User Manual. These step by step examples will use the BrM 5.2.3 sample database.

2016 User Group Meeting – BrMUG (Bridge Management User Group)

September 20 – 21, 2016 in San Antonio, TX
  • 90 members of the bridge user community attended, taking advantage of the comprehensive agenda which included presentations on the status and future of AASHTOWare Bridge Management, current and planned functionality enhancements, an FHWA update, DOT use of the software and related customizations, incorporation of tunnels into BrM, and a walk-though of version 5.2.3. In addition, BrM Users convened to discuss concerns and priorities for the product going forward.
  • The user group provided the Task Force with a list of their enhancement priorities.
  • Functional Design Specifications have been developed and reviewed by the Task Force for the top ten (10) user-defined enhancements. The following enhancements are among the features that will be included in the next release.
    • Error Check Pre-Script (PONWEB-2179)
    • Default Data Separate Script (PONWEB-2190)
    • Load Ratings* (PONWEB-2234)
  • Additional user-defined enhancements, including enhancements for Load Rating, will be reviewed in more detail for possible inclusion in BrM following additional input from the user community.

FHWA Asset Management Final Rule

The final Asset Management rule was release on October 24, 2016 and can be found at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/tpm/rule.cfm. BrM is tailored specifically for State DOTs to comply with Federal regulations. Although the Task Force has worked closely with FHWA throughout the rule making process, the Task Force and contractor, Bentley Systems, Inc., will fully review the final rule to ensure full compliance with the Federal requirements for Tier 1 assets.

AASHTOWare Bridge Design-Rating

Current Release: 6.8 – Released July 2016
New Features:
  • A new standalone P/S concrete design tool (being provided to all licensees to try it out)
  • LFR for post-tensioned concrete and reinforced concrete multi-cell box beams
  • Nonstandard gage for floor systems
  • LRFD design/review and LFR and LRFR analyses of diaphragms for multi-girder steel superstructures
  • A regression comparison tool to assist end users with testing of analysis results (to be released Summer 2016)
  • A new rating tool for use with permit/routing systems that very quickly computes rating factors for multi-girder steel and concrete superstructures (to be released Summer 2016)
  • Several enhancements for concrete superstructures requested and funded by CALTRANS (these enhancements were included in a mid-year release 6.7.1)
  • Several reinforced concrete box culvert enhancements
  • A new utility for copying bridges from one database to another (funded by Ohio DOT, to be released Fall 2016)
  • AASHTO LRFD Specification updates (7th Edition with 2016 Interim)
  • AASHTO Manual for Bridge Evaluation Specification updates (2nd Edition with 2016 Interim)
  • User interface improvements requested by users
Two new tools were added to BrDR this summer:
  • Prestressed Concrete Design Tool
    • Included in release 6.8
    • Capable of performing flexure and shear design of a single prestressed concrete beam
    • Ability for the user to describe the overall bridge geometry (framing plan) that includes multiple prestressed concrete beams (the “System” definition in BrDR)
    • Ability to select a single beam for design
    • Ability to compute live load distribution factors and both dead loads and live loads (user specifies parameters, such as a range for the beam depth, and the tool will determine a strand pattern for either harped strands or debonded strands as specified that satisfies the AASHTO LRFD specification).
    • Presentation of one or more beam designs that satisfy the specification.
  • Rating Tool
    • Provides a new process for Bridge Rating to quickly compute load ratings as well as capabilities for:
    • LFR compatibility
    • Rating steel and concrete multi-girder superstructures
    • Being accessed from a third-party system such a permit/routing system

Bridge Design-Rating Modernization Project

The modernization of the AASHTOWare Bridge Design-Rating system was initiated in the spring of 2016 to revamp the current system, initially released in April 1999, to take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies, software architecture, development environments, and development tools.
The project, based on the voluntary participation of a minimum of twenty (20) member agencies to contribute $740,000 each, the total project cost of $14.8M represents the funding needed to support the code modernization phases of the project (Phases 1 and 2 over the first three years of the project), while license fee revenue collected over the four years the modernization effort is underway would be set aside to support functionality enhancements in the fourth year of the project (Phase 3).
While not fully funded to support the phases under the anticipated funding structure outlined above, the future of the AASHTOWare Bridge Design-Rating product depends on the modernization of the source code to significantly upgrade the core technology to a modern software architecture that uses current and future hardware and the latest software development technologies, supporting the following benefits.
  • Faster analysis performance that cannot be realized in the absence of code modernization. This will allow the application to take advantage of the latest hardware and software advances, primarily parallelization by using the multi-threading capabilities of the new processors and the latest parallel task libraries (i.e. running multiple tasks simultaneously).
  • Improvements to the user interface to better support novice users while maintaining modeling flexibility and robustness for advanced users.
  • Improvements to the application reporting capabilities.
  • Future development and maintenance costs will be reduced with the modernized product. This modernization will also facilitate improved implementation times for new features.
To continue to incorporate functionality enhancements into the current product, supported by an outdated architecture and code base, is not feasible. Doing so would ensure product obsolescence in the very near future, as the execution time for the analysis of 3D models, for example, continues to be unacceptable. For these reasons, the AASHTOWare Bridge Task Force made the decision to move forward with alternate funding strategies to support the BrDR Modernization Project. These alternate funding strategies include the use of BrDR licensing fees over the four years of the project to supplement the funding short-fall in Phases 1 and 2. This approach permitted the project to be initiated April 1, 2016 with reduced funding available in Phase 3 to support product enhancements.
Additional AASHTO member agency participation in this project is being solicited to fill the funding gap to fully fund phases 1 and 2 and increase the funding available for the incorporation of product enhancements in phase 3.

2016 User Group Meeting – RADBUG (Rating and Design Bridge User Group)

August 2 – 3, 2016 in Chicago, IL
  • 90 members of the bridge user community attended, taking advantage of the comprehensive agenda which included presentations on the status and future of the AASHTOWare Bridge Design-Rating products, current functionality enhancements, the BrDR Modernization project, End User presentations using BrDR on specific projects within the DOTs, and FHWA bridge program initiatives.  In addition, AASHTOWare BrDR Fundamentals and more advanced BrD and BrR training sessions were offered.