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 41 state transportation agencies.