U.S. Patent for Vertical Optimization Technology

Jan 23, 2018
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Softree Technical Systems Receives U.S. Patent for Vertical Optimization Technology

Innovative Mathematical Method & System for Reducing Earthwork Costs Developed in Conjunction with UBC

VANCOUVER, January 23, 2018 | Softree Technical Systems, developer of easy-to-use engineering software solutions, has received a U.S. patent for their innovative optimization software program which determines the lowest-cost vertical alignment of an infrastructure corridor. The technology was developed through a longstanding research partnership with the University of British Columbia.

The name for the patent is “method and system for determining the vertical alignment of an infrastructure corridor,” and the patented technology is embedded in Softree’s optimization software product, Softree Optimal.

Building infrastructure corridors—highways, roads, channels, pipelines, and railways—is expensive, and earthwork often represents a large percentage of the overall cost for these projects. Excavating, filling, and trucking earth typically accounts for roughly 30% of the construction cost for a highway. Considering that earthwork-requiring road and highway projects are typically very expensive (sometimes in the hundreds of millions), even a small percentage of savings in this area can have a very high dollar value. In addition, with large infrastructure projects, these dollars are often taxpayer dollars.

It is because of the potential for such large dollar savings that Softree has focused their efforts on developing an innovative, reliable, and easy-to-use tool which can provide these savings.

How the New Technology Impacts the Civil Design Industry:

  • Potential for Major Earthwork Savings. The ability to significantly reduce earthwork costs during the design phase will bring down the price of infrastructure corridor projects.
  • More Efficient Design. The ability to generate an alignment quickly allows for quicker, better design all around.
  • Visibility of Material Movement Cost in calculations puts powerful information in the hands of the designer before going to tender, allowing engineers to create better, lower-cost designs.
  • Quantitative Evaluative Criteria provided by Softree Optimal gives engineers the ability to base design decisions on hard facts and detailed costs, instead of on “soft” criteria, such as a designer’s skills and experience, or rough estimates based on earthwork volumes.

The patented method and system uses deterministic mathematics, and this one of the things that sets Softree’s technology apart from other optimization programs used for planning infrastructure projects. Using a deterministic method means that the software can consistently guarantee the lowest-cost solution, given the design criteria it is given. It solves the complex geometric problem of excavation, embankment, and haulage, while meeting the user-defined design parameters and constraints, providing a truly optimal solution every time.

Founded in 1989, Softree has always been dedicated to creating innovative and easy-to-use design software solutions for the civil and resource industries that save engineering time and construction costs. Softree Optimal does just that.

“Landing this patent is just one landmark. There are lots of other new developments as well. For example, we have already begun working on the horizontal optimization problem,” says David Mills, software engineer. Softree continues to do research and development in the area of methods, systems, and techniques that can be used in order to make infrastructure corridor construction more efficient and economical.

If your firm is working on an infrastructure corridor project and would like to evaluate Softree Optimal, contact sales@softree.com, or schedule a demo at https://www.softree.com/demo.

New customers can also access a free 21-day trial of the latest version of Softree Optimal, and can download it at https://www.softree.com/optimization.