Development of AASHTOWare Bridge Design and Rating™ Software


Aging bridges and the continuing growth in the size and volume of traffic are critical concerns for the agencies responsible for maintaining the nation’s bridges. In order to preserve safety, performance, and reliability in our nation’s bridges, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) maintains specifications governing the design of new bridges and the ongoing analysis and evaluation of load carrying capacity for all bridges. To assist agencies like state Departments of Transportation, who own and maintain thousands of bridges, AASHTO contracted with Michael Baker to develop comprehensive bridge design and load rating software with the goal of promoting efficiency, accuracy and consistency nationwide.

Michael Baker prepared the functional requirements, designed, developed and continues to maintain the database and software that enables owners to efficiently and accurately design, analyze and load rate the majority of bridge types that make up the nation’s bridge inventory. Since the software’s inception, Michael Baker has enhanced the software to continually improve user-friendliness and to incorporate wider ranges of bridge types.

AASHTOWare Bridge Design and Rating™ is  architected in a highly modular way using object-oriented programming methods. This modular architecture makes it possible for commercial software packages, such as permit routing systems, to the access the system’s data and functionality.  The system includes an ODBC-compliant database system that allows the users to use one of several commercially available database software products. A detailed description of each bridge, independent of the analytical engine, method of analysis and specification, is stored in the database.  This database approach allows bridge owners to track deterioration and easily load rate their bridge inventory as heavier traffic loads are introduced into the transportation network.


“The strength of the AASHTOWare Bridge Design and Rating™ software is not just the ability to analyze and load rate bridges, but the preservation of the bridge description in a comprehensive, relational database throughout the life of the bridge.  This allows bridge owners to continually assess the strength of their bridge inventory for the increasingly heavier traffic loads seen today.” 

Krisha K.
Technical Manager

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