BIM for Bridges and Structures Pooled Fund Program

bim model bridge section

BIM for Bridges and Structures Pooled Fund Program

Creating New Open Standards to Allow for Widespread Use of BIM in the U.S. Bridge Industry

The use of Building Information Modeling for bridges is increasing in popularity. Yet there’s currently no standard non-proprietary file type for exchanging 3D models and other digital data — meaning that to use BIM in current practice, designers and contractors face interoperability issues if they don’t own the same type of software.

More than 20 state transportation agencies, the Federal Highway Administration and the AASHTO Committee on Bridges and Structures have come together to change that. They’ve pooled funds to create a national open data standard based on the Industry Foundation Classes format specifically to utilize bridge design data for construction and fabrication. The ambitious undertaking will set the stage for more widespread use of BIM throughout the life cycle of a structure. We’re leading the team that guides the pooled fund states to define and implement this new national data standard for the U.S.

At the end of this process, software will include a standard export, much like a 2D document can be exported to a PDF, for designers to pass to contractors or fabricators. This will allow each entity to work in his or her chosen BIM program but still efficiently share the same data. It will set the stage for more automation during construction and fabrication as well as open the door to better asset management.

Successful completion of a project of this complexity requires industry-leading expertise in bridge design as well as extensive knowledge in construction, fabrication, IFC development, econometrics and technology deployment. Standards established through this effort will transform how bridge designs are developed and managed for decades to come. With our global experience delivering roadway and bridge design projects with BIM, our team is well-versed in international BIM standards and how various parties can leverage a 3D model to realize tangible benefits.

A critical success factor is building consensus for adopting BIM and U.S. data standards. This requires working broadly for state transportation agencies across the U.S. as well as contractors and fabricators. Close coordination with software vendors is ongoing to ensure that the standards can and will be included in future versions of their software products. The team is aiming to see the standard included in software by 2023.

We are proud to play a role in a project that will advance the U.S. bridge industry by creating open data standards and enabling entities to exchange information with greater reliability, predictability and efficiency.

bim model bridge section
More than 20 state transportation agencies, Federal Highway Administration, AASHTO Committee on Bridges and Structures

United States