NCHRP Project 12-28(2), Bridge Management Systems, was initiated in 1985 with the objective of developing a model form of effective bridge management at the network level. The first phase of the project resulted in the conceptual development of the modular elements necessary for a model bridge management system, which is documented in NCHRP Report 300, "Bridge Management Systems." A second phase of work further developed some engineering concepts necessary for operation of such a system and initiated program development. An IBM PC-based computer program was produced using the FoxBase database programming language.
Four state transportation departments tested and evaluated the software. Based on the results of this testing, a number of major deficiencies were identified in the system. In addition, several optimization and analysis concepts and strategies that were not incorporated in the initial system design are needed to ensure compliance with anticipated future federal requirements.
The objective of NCHRP Project 12-28(2)A was to develop, validate, and document a fully operational microcomputer-based bridge management system software package that can be readily used by transportation agencies. The system is based on the conceptual design noted in NCHRP Report 300, modified as necessary to incorporate other elements and strategies as noted below.
The completed bridge management software program met the following requirements, and accommodated and incorporated elements as noted: IBM PC or compatible hardware platform; developed using commercially available database and/or high-level languages; modular design and execution; conventional engineering procedures such as deterministic deterioration models, incremental cost-benefit analysis, and life cycle cost profiles; incorporation of level-of-service goals; network level decision-making, with a capability to link to project level decision-making in the future; reasonable predictions of deterioration rates of structural elements; optimization of the selection of projects and inclusion of alternatives based on maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement; optimization of maintenance options; user cost considerations in the optimization strategies; optimization on the complete bridge network or any subset of it and with unconstrained and constrained budgets; ability to forecast annual needs over a predefined planning horizon, both for the complete network and any subset of it; direct data upload capabilities from state NBI databases, supplemented by other easily collectible data as required; easy data entry and editing; output capabilities must include network and network subset data files and flexible report formats that can be written to disk, screen, and hard copy; levels of security and access rights; and, operational as a single-user system with capabilities to be expanded to a multi-user system in the future.
The following deliverables have been provided: complete system and module design documentation including flowcharts, algorithms, required inputs, system communications, and module outputs; software source code; compiled and executable software package; software package installation and NBI data upload specifications or routines; and system documentation. The system documentation includes the system design documentation, user's manual, programmers manual, and a system validation report.
The software was released to the sponsors of the NCHRP in early 1995, and a long-term support and maintenance mechanism for the software is being investigated. A third phase of research, which will consider issues such as the metrication of the software and methods for displaying information needed by executive managers of departments of transportation, is summarized under Project 12-28(2)B.