Bridge Design System Analysis and Modernization

Sponsor: Michigan Department of Transportation

PI: Timothy Colling

The Bridge Design System (BDS) is an in-house software program developed by the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Bridge Design Unit. The BDS designs bridges according to the required specifications, and outputs corresponding design drawings and calculations. It has been the primary design tool for MDOT’s bridges over the last several decades. Because of the BDS’s longevity of use and development, MDOT has experienced a high level of comfort, familiarity, and efficiency with it. However, components of the BDS have been added and removed over the years, and little associated documentation exists today. The code itself has seen nearly 60 years of evolution in the Fortran programming language. Migration to another software system is likely to require significant changes to MDOT business processes and may require multiple software systems rather than the unified design system of the BDS. Also, long-term viability of the BDS would require documentation of the existing architecture and operation of the system as well as development of a plan for future compatibility and functionality of the software. Therefore, the Center for Technology & Training at Michigan Tech was contracted to document, analyze and propose modernization options for the BDS. This report describes the tools used to conduct this assessment and the results of this task.

Tim Colling
Tim Colling