Bridge Software Institute

Last updated
Bridge Software Institute
Formation 2000
Type Institute
Headquarters Gainesville, Florida
Gary Consolazio, Ph.D.
Key people
Michael Davidson, Ph.D., P.E. (Associate Director); Henry Bollmann, P.E. (Senior Engineer); Anand Patil, P.E. (Assistant Engineer); Clinton Monari (Lead UI Developer); Brandon Crow (Developer); Cary Peterson (Licensing and Distribution)
Website Official website

The Bridge Software Institute is headquartered at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, Florida. It was established in January 2000 to oversee the development of bridge related software products at UF. Today, Bridge Software Institute has a leadership position in the bridge software industry and Bridge Software Institute products are used by engineers nationwide, both in state Departments of Transportation and leading private consulting firms. Bridge Software Institute software is also used for the analysis of bridges in various countries by engineers around the world.

University of Florida public research university in Gainesville, Florida, United States

The University of Florida is a public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university in Gainesville, Florida. It is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. The university traces its origins to 1853 and has operated continuously on its Gainesville campus since September 1906.



The institute is headquartered in Gainesville, Florida at the University of Florida. The Bridge Software Institute was officially established January 2000 and is nationally acclaimed. The mission of the institute is to address the increasing demands of the transportation industry. The Bridge Software Institute develops cutting-edge bridge software used extensively in the transportation industry.

Gainesville, Florida City in Florida, United States

Gainesville is the county seat and largest city in Alachua County, Florida, United States, and the principal city of the Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The population of Gainesville in the 2017 US Census estimates was 132,249, a 6.4% growth from 2010. Gainesville is the largest city in the region of North Central Florida. It is also a component of the Gainesville-Lake City Combined Statistical Area, which had a 2013 population of 337,925.

The software is engineered by leveraging the institutional research activities of the Structural/Geotechnical Research Groups in the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment at the University of Florida. One of the main strengths of the institute, is in nonlinear dynamic finite element analysis and its applications to solving large-scale extreme event problems.

Since 2003, the Bridge Software Institute has developed a robust database system that integrates the application of geotechnical engineering data and associated metadata which enables the construction of services in the digital environment. The Florida Department of Transportation Database System is now being used in large-scale implementations, with more applications currently under development.

Florida Department of Transportation

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is a decentralized agency charged with the establishment, maintenance, and regulation of public transportation in the state of Florida. The department was formed in 1969. It absorbed the powers of the State Road Department (SRD). The current Secretary of Transportation is Interim Secretary Erik R. Fenniman.

Bridge Software Institute also participates in the development and promotion of the Data Interchange for Geotechnical and GeoEnvironmental Specialists (DIGGS). [1] DIGGS is a coalition of government agencies, universities and industry partners whose focus is on the creation and maintenance of an international data transfer standard for transportation related data. The coalition came into existence through coordination with the U.S. Federal Highway Administration who sponsored meetings and eventually formed the pooled fund study project.

This intellectual and creative combination of academia, government, and industry is the reason behind the success of the Bridge Software Institute. It invigorates the work of the faculty, staff, and the students associated with Bridge Software Institute.



FB-MultiPier is a nonlinear finite element analysis program capable of analyzing multiple bridge pier structures interconnected by bridge spans. The full structure can be subjected to static analysis, AASHTO load analysis, response spectrum analysis, and time-history analysis. Each pier structure is composed of pier columns and cap supported on a pile cap and piles/shafts embedded in soil. This program couples nonlinear structural finite element analysis with nonlinear soil resistance models for axial, lateral, rotational, and torsional soil behavior to provide a robust system of analysis for coupled bridge pier structures and foundation systems. FB-MultiPier allows for finite element model generation based on graphical input and parametric descriptions of the structure and foundation systems. This allows the engineer to work directly with design parameters and improves efficiency in model creation and interpretation of analysis results.


The FB-Deep computer program is a Windows-based program used to estimate the static axial capacity of drilled shafts and driven piles. The drilled shaft methodology is based upon Federal Highway Administration reports. Driven pile methodology utilizes two types of analyses: SPT and CPT. SPT methodology is based on empirical correlations between cone penetrometer tests and standard penetration tests for typical Florida soil types. Unit end bearing resistance and unit skin friction resistance versus SPT N values are given in the FDOT research bulletin RB-121, for the different soil types. Driven pile capacity calculated using CPT data can be determined by three separate methods. The first method is the Schmertmann method proposed by Schmertmann in 1978 (AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Manual). The second method is the LCPC method proposed by Bustamante and Gianeselli for the French Highway Department in 1982. The third method is the UF method proposed by Bloomquist, McVay and Hu for the FDOT in 2007.

Pile Technician

Pile Technician was developed for the FDOT to provide a fast and efficient manner of entering Pile data to calculate payment for work performed by the contractor.


ATLAS is an analysis/design program which is used for the analysis and design of signal lights and signs supported by the dual cable system. The analysis consists of an iterative technique which is a combination of the Force Density Method (FDM) and the Direct Stiffness Method (DSM). The FDM is ideal for the analysis of cable structures whereas the DSM is the most widely used technique for the analysis of framed structures. The nature of the structures under consideration lead to the development of this analysis technique which is a combination of the two methods. ATLAS handles the wind loading in a realistic manner. It allows the user to specify the wind speed as well as the areas of the signal lights or signs, parallel to the X and Y axis. In doing so the program calculates the applied loads on the corresponding nodal points internally, based on the specified element areas of the LIGHT elements in each plane. The loads are calculated in each cycle of the nonlinear process. Therefore, the applied loads in each cycle change with the rotation angle of the light. Thus the load are more realistic since they change with the swinging of the light. The angle change of the light also causes an uplift load at the cable nodal points.

See also

University of Florida College of Engineering

The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering is the largest professional school, the second largest college, and one of the top three research units at the University of Florida. The college was founded in 1910, and in 2015 was named in honor of Herbert Wertheim – a serial inventor, philanthropist and UF Distinguished Alumnus. Located on the university's Gainesville, Florida campus, the college is composed of nine departments, 15 degree programs, and more than 20 centers and institutes. It produces research and graduates in more than a dozen fields of engineering and science including: aerospace, agricultural, biological, biomedical, chemical, civil, coastal, computer, computer science, digital arts, electrical, environmental, industrial, materials, mechanical, nuclear, and systems.

Related Research Articles

Geotechnical engineering branch of civil engineering concerned with the engineering behavior of earth materials

Geotechnical engineering is the branch of civil engineering concerned with the engineering behavior of earth materials. Geotechnical engineering is important in civil engineering, but also has applications in military, mining, petroleum and other engineering disciplines that are concerned with construction occurring on the surface or within the ground. Geotechnical engineering uses principles of soil mechanics and rock mechanics to investigate subsurface conditions and materials; determine the relevant physical/mechanical and chemical properties of these materials; evaluate stability of natural slopes and man-made soil deposits; assess risks posed by site conditions; design earthworks and structure foundations; and monitor site conditions, earthwork and foundation construction.

NASTRAN is a finite element analysis (FEA) program that was originally developed for NASA in the late 1960s under United States government funding for the aerospace industry. The MacNeal-Schwendler Corporation (MSC) was one of the principal and original developers of the publicly available NASTRAN code. NASTRAN source code is integrated in a number of different software packages, which are distributed by a range of companies.

Seismic analysis

Seismic analysis is a subset of structural analysis and is the calculation of the response of a building structure to earthquakes. It is part of the process of structural design, earthquake engineering or structural assessment and retrofit in regions where earthquakes are prevalent.

In geotechnical civil engineering, the p-y method is a method of analyzing the ability of deep foundations to resist loads applied in the lateral direction. This method uses the finite difference method and p-y graphs to find a solution. P-y graphs are graphs which relate the force applied to soil to the lateral deflection of the soil. In essence, non-linear springs are attached to the foundation in place of the soil. The springs can be represented by the following equation:

Deep foundation type of building foundation

A deep foundation is a type of foundation that transfers building loads to the earth farther down from the surface than a shallow foundation does to a subsurface layer or a range of depths.

Finite element method Numerical method for solving physical or engineering problems

The finite element method (FEM), is a numerical method for solving problems of engineering and mathematical physics. Typical problem areas of interest include structural analysis, heat transfer, fluid flow, mass transport, and electromagnetic potential. The analytical solution of these problems generally require the solution to boundary value problems for partial differential equations. The finite element method formulation of the problem results in a system of algebraic equations. The method approximates the unknown function over the domain. To solve the problem, it subdivides a large system into smaller, simpler parts that are called finite elements. The simple equations that model these finite elements are then assembled into a larger system of equations that models the entire problem. FEM then uses variational methods from the calculus of variations to approximate a solution by minimizing an associated error function.

Z88 is a software package for the finite element method (FEM) and topology optimization. A team led by Frank Rieg at the University of Bayreuth started development in 1985 and now the software is used by several universities, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. Z88 is capable of calculating two and three dimensional element types with a linear approach. The software package contains several solvers and two post-processors and is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Unix/Linux computers in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Benchmark tests conducted in 2007 showed a performance on par with commercial software.

LUSAS is a UK-based developer and supplier of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) application software products that bear the same name.

Klaus-Jürgen Bathe German engineer

Klaus-Jürgen Bathe is a civil engineer, professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and founder of ADINA R&D, who specializes in computational mechanics. Bathe is considered to be one of the pioneers in the field of finite element analysis and its applications.

Slope stability analysis

Slope stability analysis is performed to assess the safe design of a human-made or natural slopes and the equilibrium conditions. Slope stability is the resistance of inclined surface to failure by sliding or collapsing. The main objectives of slope stability analysis are finding endangered areas, investigation of potential failure mechanisms, determination of the slope sensitivity to different triggering mechanisms, designing of optimal slopes with regard to safety, reliability and economics, designing possible remedial measures, e.g. barriers and stabilization.

SVSLOPE is a slope stability analysis program developed by SoilVision Systems Ltd.. The software is designed to analyze slopes using both the classic "method of slices" as well as newer stress-based methods. The program is used in the field of civil engineering to analyze levees, earth dams, natural slopes, tailings dams, heap leach piles, waste rock piles, and anywhere there is concern for mass wasting. SVSLOPE finds the factor of safety or the probability of failure for the slope. The software makes use of advanced searching methods to determine the critical failure surface.

ADINA is a commercial engineering simulation software program that is developed and distributed worldwide by ADINA R & D, Inc. The company was founded in 1986 by Dr. Klaus-Jürgen Bathe, and is headquartered in Watertown, Massachusetts, United States.

A finite element limit analysis (FELA) uses optimisation techniques to directly compute the upper or lower bound plastic collapse load for a mechanical system rather than time stepping to a collapse load, as might be undertaken with conventional non-linear finite element techniques. The problem may be formulated in either a kinematic or equilibrium form.


StressCheck is a finite element analysis software product developed and supported by ESRD, Inc. of St. Louis, Missouri. It is one of the first commercially available FEA products to utilize the p-version of the finite element method and support the requirements of Simulation Governance.


VisualFEA is a finite element analysis program running on MS Windows and Mac OS X platforms. The program is being developed and distributed by Intuition Software, Inc. in South Korea, and is used chiefly for structural and geotechnical analysis. The strongest point of the program is its intuitive and user-friendly usage based on graphical pre- and postprocessing capabilities. VisualFEA has educational functions for teaching and learning structural mechanics and finite element analysis through graphical simulation. Thus, this program is widely used in college courses related to structural mechanics and finite element method.

The Newmark's sliding block analysis method is an engineering that calculates permanent displacements of soil slopes during seismic loading. Newmark analysis does not calculate actual displacement, but rather is an index value that can be used to provide an indication of the structures likelihood of failure during a seismic event. It is also simply called Newmark's analysis or Sliding block method of slope stability analysis.

David Malcolm Potts is a professor of Analytical Soil Mechanics at Imperial College London and the head of the Geotechnics Section at Imperial College. He has been a member of the academic staff at Imperial College since 1979, responsible for teaching the use of analytical methods in geomechanics and the design of slopes and earth retaining structures, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.


DIANA is a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) solver developed and distributed by DIANA FEA BV and several other resellers worldwide. The software is utilised at both ends of the market, by small consultancies and global engineering consultants, research institutions and is utilised by many highly respected educational institutions worldwide in both civil and geotechnical engineering courses. DIANA is equipped with very powerful solvers which enables the analysis of a wide range of structures, large and small - with basic or advanced analyses. A large selection of material models, element libraries and analysis procedures are available within the package which gives DIANA a large degree of flexibility. The main fields of use of DIANA include design and analysis of dams & dikes; tunnels & underground structures; oil & gas & historical constructions and large reinforced concrete structures. Some of the specialised analyses available in DIANA for these fields of use include seismic analysis; fire analysis and young hardening concrete.

Medhat Haroun

Medhat Haroun was an Egyptian-American expert on earthquake engineering. He wrote more than 300 technical papers and received the Charles Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Award (2006) and the Walter Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (1992) from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Scott W. Sloan Laureate Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Newcastle (Australia)

Scott William Sloan FRS FREng FAA FTSE is laureate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Newcastle.


  1. DIGGS Applications Archived April 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine .