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Mid-America Transportation Center

Digital Documentation of Element Condition for Bridge Evaluation

Final Report
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  • Principal Investigator: Yelda Turkan ( 515-294-7539)
  • Project Status
  • Start Date: 7/1/2013
  • End Date: 12/31/2014
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    This research project proposes to use bridge information modeling (BrIM) technology, which enables management of information in a three-dimensional (3D) environment. This environment will enable inspectors to download accurate, intelligent 3D models of the inspected infrastructure within an electronic tablet. These models will contain critical (if not all) bridge elements, each associated to a database that will allow storage of inspection features such as the presence of damage, types of damages, severity, and localization.
    Research Objective
    The overarching objective of this research is to improve infrastructure safety and reduce inspection costs by providing a BrIM-based inspection procedure (see Figure 2). To attain this objective, the research is divided into three main tasks: 1) collect and analyze inspection data; 2) create a 3D bridge information model; and 3) validate and demonstrate the BrIM-based inspection procedure.
    Potential Benefits
    This research will provide an improved means of accurately documenting the complex process of element-based bridge inspection that will soon become the national standard. It will allow bridge inspectors to enter information pertaining to the condition of an element into the database while looking at the element in question, making the inspection process more accurate. This research will eliminate errors resulting from data transcription and will provide more cost effective bridge inspections. All of these factors should make US bridges safer and assist in maintaining bridges in a state of good repair.
    Bridge condition inspection data provides critical and rich information for assessing structural condition. Currently, the majority of bridge evaluation methods use printed checklists, and their interpretation is labor intensive, subject to personal judgment, and prone to error. To realize the full potential of infrastructure inspections, there is a need to automate the data management process. This research project proposes to use Bridge Information Modeling (BrIM) technology, which enables management of information in a three-dimensional (3D) environment. This environment combines a 3D representation of the infrastructure, and allows the integration of inspection data, such as the presence of damages, types of damages, severity, and localization. Building Information Modeling (BIM) has become the standard for vertical construction projects, and the lessons learned is now being transferred to horizontal projects such as highways and bridges. Although the principles, methods, and software are very similar, different acronyms such as Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), 3D Engineered Models, Civil Integrated Management (CIM), Bridge Information Model (BrIM) etc. are used to define BIM for horizontal projects. In this proposal, we use Bridge Information Modeling (BrIM) acronym to refer to the database that integrates a 3D bridge model and bridge element condition data. Using the proposed BrIM, information can be automatically queried, sorted, and evaluated, which will substantially improve infrastructure management operations. This will result in reducing costs associated with infrastructure management, and improving the overall quality of our infrastructure by enabling more effective maintenance and repairs.
    Total Project Cost
    $ $59,780