Optimizing the Geometric Design of Highways

Dec 13, 2017

You’re a highway engineer. You know how to design a highway. You know how to create a design that satisfies all the design constraints and standards. You have the skills to design a road with minimal earthwork costs. But how do you know for sure?

Softree Optimal puts the power of mathematical optimization behind your design decisions, so that you know for sure that you have the lowest cost road or highway, given your design requirements. It solves the complex 3D problem of minimizing excavation, embankment and haulage while meeting your design constraints and standards.

Softree Optimal turns an iterative process into a deterministic process. Tweaking and relying on experience when designing a road is iterative. Working with optimization software to back design decisions is deterministic. What does that mean?

That means that with optimization software, a designer knows for sure that a given design is the lowest cost in terms of earthwork, based on a deterministic mathematical model which provides the best possible solution. In a situation where the vertical alignment is not constrained, there are just too many possible solutions for the human brain to consider; an experienced designer might come close to the optimal solution through iterative design, but without a mathematical standard to compare design options, there is no way to know if any given design is truly the best. Softree Optimal provides a quantitative standard for evaluating a design.

When it comes to calculating earthwork costs, there is a complex relationship between type of material and the volume of cut and fill, as well as the distance material is moved. In the case of road and highway projects involving significant earthwork (especially if rock is involved), a small change in the vertical alignment of a road can make a huge difference in overall cost.

Softree Optimal takes these complex variables and determines the lowest cost vertical alignment, given the design parameters and constraints the user has defined. Softree Optimal is not a black box; it provides powerful verification for what you already know how to do, and allows you to come up with a better design, and fast.

Softree is doing a webinar on how to use Softree Optimal as a powerful tool in geometric highway design. The webinar covers how to define parameters and design criteria in Softree Optimal in order to optimize a highway alignment from Civil 3D. Register for the Free Webinar HERE!