Vendor: Agencies are looking to streamline their highway design efforts
In an interview with GovPro.com, Tom Igou, director of state and local government sales at San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk, observed that governments at all levels are adopting software-based tools that streamline the road design process and reduce errors along the way.
An excerpt from the interview appears below.
- GovPro.com: What do you see in government purchasing trends for Autodesk’s highway design and maintenance software for the remainder of 2008?
- TI: We see both state and local agencies that build and manage our nation’s roads looking for ways to do more with less. There is a keen focus on three key areas: shortening the time between project approval and the letting of bids; reducing errors and omissions to speed construction and reduce the amount of rework; and the desire to reuse data from pre-design through construction and into operations and maintenance. These trends were anticipated by Autodesk and our model-based civil engineering design software (AutoCAD Civil 3D). This software, as well as our construction and visualization offerings, is having an impact on solving these issues.
- GovPro.com: What are the main applications for the highway design and maintenance software? Is it mainly used by state highway departments, or do counties and cities rely on it?
- TI: Our primary road and highway offering is AutoCAD Civil 3D, and it is used at both the state and local levels for surveying, design, analysis and construction documentation. With AutoCAD Civil 3D, road and highway designers are able to create coordinated, reliable design information about the project; optimize the designs with analysis, simulation and visualization; and then deliver high-quality construction documentation. The information model at the core of AutoCAD Civil 3D keeps designs and documentation automatically in sync, which minimizes errors and omissions, helps our customers increase productivity and shortens the overall project letting cycle. The model continues to deliver value for construction and operations. AutoCAD Civil 3D also is the first civil engineering product that actually allows a three-dimensional job (e.g., road design) to be performed in 3-D. Historically, road design work has been performed with outdated 2-D products. The ability to see a project in all three dimensions results in the early identification of design issues, and it is a lot less expensive to resolve these issues early in the design cycle instead of during construction.
- GovPro.com: How about mass transit agencies/transit districts or federal agencies?
- TI: Mass Transit agencies are embracing our offerings as well as federal agencies. For example, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority and the Metropolitan Transit Authority are both using Autodesk products to support their operations. Additionally, federal agencies, including all branches of the military, rely on Autodesk solutions.
- GovPro.com: Can the highway design and maintenance software be used as a cost-savings tool, or to boost productivity or to reduce time to complete a project?
- TI: All of the above. AutoCAD Civil 3D reduces costs by speeding up the design process and reducing the number of errors and omissions. The software also boosts productivity by building a true 3-D model as part of the design process. The model allows the project to be visualized before it is built. Historically, the building of a model and visualization have been specialized separate tasks. Project time is reduced by the earlier detection and correction of design issues, no special effort to build a model and the ability to take the design and provide it directly to earth-moving equipment equipped with automated machine guidance.
- GovPro.com: Does Autodesk have any advice for government managers thinking of acquiring this kind of software?
- TI: Our advice is to look at the trends driving the industry and the challenges that keep you up at night. We consistently are told that road design agencies need to shorten the project letting cycle, reduce errors and omissions that result in rework and increase construction costs, support construction with equipment using automated machine guidance and increase productivity and minimize the impact of employee attrition. If any of these issues are facing your agency, then please reach out to us and let us explore your challenges and share with you how your peers are using Autodesk technology to solve them.
- GovPro.com: Is the software bought outright or through a site license?
- TI: We work to be flexible and to accommodate the procurement methods most advantageous to our customers. Therefore, our Civil Design software may be purchased outright or through an enterprise license agreement. Additionally, some of our construction collaboration offerings are provided via an ASP model to better support the ecosystem of major projects.