Bridges

Cover of Digital Evolution of Bridge Management Systems in the Gulf Region
Digital Evolution of Bridge Management Systems in the Gulf Region
  • Publication no: ABC2017-039-17
  • Published: 20 April 2017

We are living in a world which has an ever-increasing amount of digitisation: people sip their cappuccinos while reading the Saturday paper on a tablet, university students stream lectures to their laptops without ever setting foot on campus, banking transactions are done with a touch on a smartphone. The digital age is reshaping industries across all sectors, including engineering, education, finance and law. But how is the industry of Infrastructure Maintenance, and in particular Bridge Management Systems, keeping up with digital disruption?

This paper examines the evolution of Bridge Management Systems which are currently in use or being developed in the Gulf Region and how they are evolving to become more digitised and integrated with other digital tools and systems. Until recently, transportation authorities in the Gulf were using traditional methods of structure inspection, defect rating, cost estimation and processing of work orders. The introduction of computerised BMS solutions has initiated a huge leap forwards in terms of access to maintenance information, centralised data storage, effective identification of critical defects and optimisation of maintenance budgets.

We look further at the challenges that BMS solutions are facing in response to the increasing digitisation of interfacing systems, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), digital 3D surveys and hand-held tablets for the purpose of bridge inspections, and we review the changes occurring in current practices to address these issues. In addition, we touch on the organisational change required within government departments to keep abreast of this digital evolution.