Bridge Design and Rating

AASHTOWare Bridge Design (BrD) and AASHTOWare Bridge Rating (BrR) software products are comprehensive bridge design and load rating tools developed by AASHTO.  For an agency’s bridge inventory, the products store detailed bridge descriptions sufficient for structural analysis.  AASHTOWare Bridge Design is the tool for assisting in the design of both superstructures and substructures in accordance with the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications.  AASHTOWare Bridge Rating is a tool for rating bridge superstructures in accordance with the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Evaluation, AASHTO Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges and AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications.  The two products share much of their user interface and database.  When both products are licensed, a bridge can be designed using AASHTOWare Bridge Design and be immediately available to AASHTOWare Bridge Rating for load rating without re-entering and validating additional data.

There are three primary components to the system: the user interface, the database, and the analysis or computational engines.  The database and user interface are capable of supporting a two or three-dimensional description of a bridge.  Three-dimensional description is the basis for the 3-D modeling and analysis of special vehicle configurations.  The computational engines support both line girder and 3-D analyses.

AASHTOWare Bridge Design and AASHTOWare Bridge Rating use a common database to allow an agency to store a detailed description of each bridge, which is independent of the analytical engine (including specification checking) and the user interface.  The concept of storing generic bridge descriptions in a database is a powerful one with many user and agency benefits.  Among the benefits are:

  • Designing and rating a bridge using multiple analysis programs and specifications from the same description and input;
  • Upgrading and/or replacing components of the system, including the structural analysis engine, specification checking software, and user interface while preserving the basic bridge data; and
  • Easily linking to other related software systems, including bridge management systems such as AASHTOWare Bridge Management.

AASHTOWare Bridge Design and Rating Products are administered under the AASHTO Cooperative Computer Software Development Program.  The product roadmap and the development projects are guided and managed by a task force. The Product Task Force, together with other advisory task forces, is directed by the Special Committee on AASHTOWare (SCOA).  For the current fiscal year, the products are licensed by more than 35 state transportation agencies.

Bridge Design and Rating 7.0 Release and the Completion of the Modernization Project

The AASHTOWare Bridge Task Force is pleased to announce the January 2021 delivery of version 7.0 of the AASHTOWare Bridge Design (BrD) and AASHTOWare Bridge Rating (BrR) products and the combined Design and Rating product (BrDR). Version 7.0 signifies the completion of the BrDR Modernization Project.

The modernized system significantly upgraded the core technology to a modern software architecture that utilizes current and future hardware, and the latest software development technologies. The modernized AASHTO analytical engines improve the analysis runtime performance of all structure types and paves the groundwork for future performance optimization. The modernized user interface provides an improved and simplified user experience design that is easier to use for beginners and without losing modeling flexibility and robustness for advanced users.

The support of the following transportation agencies was instrumental in ensuring the long-term viability of BrDR through the successful migration of the software to the modernized BrDR 7.0 architecture. This project would not have been possible without their funding commitments to support this essential project.

  • Alabama Department of Transportation
  • California Department of Transportation
  • Idaho Transportation Department
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
  • Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Kansas Department of Transportation
  • Michigan Department of Transportation
  • Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • Mississippi Department of Transportation
  • Montana Department of Transportation
  • New Mexico Department of Transportation
  • New York Department of Transportation
  • Ohio Department of Transportation
  • South Dakota Department of Transportation
  • Wisconsin Department of Transportation

BrDR 7.0 is the ultimate bridge analysis and design software in use by most state agencies and their consultants. The modernized BrDR system provides the most optimal path for maintaining AASHTO licensing agencies’ enormous investment in bridge data; enabling agencies to more fully leverage their bridge data investment by utilizing the advances made in technology over the last 20 years.

In addition to the modernized system, the 7.0 release adds the following capabilities and features:

  • AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications updates (9th Edition);
  • AASHTO Manual for Bridge Evaluation updates (3rd Edition with 2020 Interim Revisions);
  • Load Rating Tool enhancements: LFR analysis of floor systems, multi-cell box beams, and culverts; and
  • Ability to specify vehicle increment in lane and lane increment for floor beam and floortruss transverse live load analysis

You are encouraged to fully exercise this software so that any bugs not discovered during the testing process can be identified and addressed as quickly as possible under the release warranty.

BrDR Version 6.8.4 was the last release of the legacy system. Functionality enhancements and maintenance going forward will be incorporated into the modernized system. Support for the AASHTOWare  Bridge Design 6.8.4, AASHTOWare  Bridge Rating 6.8.4, and all earlier versions will cease effective June 30, 2022.

Work is currently underway on the 7.1 (August 2021) and 7.2 (January 2022) BrDR releases, including numerous agency-requested enhancements and infrastructure improvements. For a detailed list of these planned enhancements, you can visit this page.

The AASHTOWare Bridge Task Force extends its sincere appreciation for your continued support as we work to provide our licensees with additional modules and enhancements over the next few years. We encourage your feedback so we can provide you with the necessary features for improving the productivity of your staff and the quality of their work.

If you have any questions or concerns about the new release, please reach out to our Project Manager, Ryan Fragapane, at