An outline of the APT bridge management software

D. Zonta, R. Zandonini, F. Bortot, R. De Col, P. Nicolussi Paolaz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper presents the main features of the software for bridge management devel-oped by Trento University for Autonomous Province Trento (APT). The system operates entirely on the web, and includes modules for (i) condition state (CS) evaluation, (ii) safety assessment, and (iii) prioritization. CS is evaluated on the basis of a procedure that acknowledges the general rules of the AASHTO Commonly Recognized (CoRe) Standard Element System, in order to conserve compatibility with PONTIS evaluation and deterioration models. Elements are characterized by up to five discrete CS, which describe the type and severity of deterioration mostly in visual terms. Normally, the system conservatively estimated a prior reliability index β for each bridge on the basis of the inspection data. Where the condition of the bridge is cause for concern, the system foresees a formal safety evaluation based on a 5-step procedure that acknowledges the general guidelines resulting from BRIME project. The system operates with a number of separate servers which are conceived to be hosted on different machines and can be managed by different providers. In its initial configuration the system includes: (i) a database server, (ii) a web server application and (iii) the data analysis application server. Most of the data information is stored in an SQL database. The web application serves as the main interface to system users, providing access to data management through a user-friendly portal. Users include the system managers, who have full control over the stock information, inspectors and evaluators, whose access is limited to bridges and inspections under their responsibility, and guests. Network-level tools are implemented in the form of an application server. The web application acts as a client respect to the analysis server, and all data is exchanged through the database. The main advantage of this software architecture is that it allows flexible system development towards a multi-agency scheme. (Figure Presented). The actors involved in system operation send queries to and modify the database through a web-based user-friendly interface. Using the main menu, the user browses the various sections of the site, including: Inventory, Inspections, People, Roads and Network. From the same web application, inspectors and evaluators download the appropriate procedures, and upload the data resulting from condition assessments or from safety evaluations, including attachments, if any, such as pictures, documents, FEM models, AutoCad files. Appropriate restrictions to the system are given so that each user can access only the information necessary for carrying out his or her specific task. In principle, the system can also automatically receive data streams from a permanent monitoring system, although this option has not been fully exploited by APT so far. The choice of substituting in the near future all or part of the manned work with automatic processes depends on issues that are technological (the actual availability of a technology, in the broad sense, capable of reproducing manual labor) and economic (the cost of instrumentation and its operation with respect to the cost of inspection). Network-level analysis is performed in real-time by a stand-alone application, currently hosted and maintained at the University of Trento. As this tool is also Internet-based, the manager can access the result of the analysis on a real-time basis through the same web-interface used for browsing the database. Although access to the official APT-BMS is obviously password protected, a mirror of the web application and of the database, including all of the bridge data inventoried up to December 2005, is maintained on a separate server for research and dissemination purposes. The reader can appreciate the operation of the software by accessing this mirror through the website, using guest as username and dims425 as password. The system is continuously updated by an operative group at Trento University. Updating includes: procedure detailing, refinement of network-level models, monitoring and evaluation of the work of inspectors and evaluators, software usability optimization and debugging. All these operations are remotely performed and are totally transparent to the users of the system.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management - Bridge Maintenance, Safety, Management, Life-Cycle Performance and Cost
EditorsPaulo J. da Sousa Cruz, Dan M. Frangopol, Luis C. Canhoto Neves
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Event3rd International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management - Bridge Maintenance, Safety, Management, Life-Cycle Performance and Cost - Porto, Portugal
Duration: 16 Jul 200619 Jul 2006


Conference3rd International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management - Bridge Maintenance, Safety, Management, Life-Cycle Performance and Cost


  • bridges
  • access control
  • applications
  • computer software maintenance
  • computer software selection and evaluation
  • deterioration
  • management information systems


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