The best software for road design includes a plethora of functions that help to dramatically cut the time it takes to design roads. Even demanding design elements like cul-de-sacs and intersections are automatically created making the whole process super-fast.
In addition, the best software for highway design leads to precise designs and contribute to a smooth process from conceptualization through construction.
How software for road design work
Road design software are equipped with a collection of features that automate every step in the design.
Data collection, contouring, terrain modeling, site design, and earthwork quantities are all done automatically. Culverts and corridors design, drainage layers, walls and guardrails, roundabouts, alignments….everything is done fast.
Your role is just to feed the details and let the computer take over. Most will also allow customization to better capture the complexities involved in taxing projects.
Importantly, the road designer is given complete control over relevant design data and has constant access to project information.
Types of road design software
The software varies in design framework with some being 2D and a majority offering interactive 3D.
Other differences can be seen in capabilities, customization, and even in how the software is availed (cloud-based or via downloads).
Some of the software are open source (and free) while a good number are subject to commercial licenses.
Having said that, engineers will find a solution to meet their needs whether working on a simple rural road project or a mega superhighway.
Here are our nominations for the best software for road design.
Autodesk InfraWorks 360 (Editor’s Choice)
Infraworks 360 is a feature-rich design software from the formidable list of the fabled Autodesk development team and has road designers smiling from ear to ear.
And as they are wont to, Autodesk never sleeps and keep on implementing new features to improve visualization and road design workflows.
From calculating materials quantities within specified areas of interest (AOI) to modeling parametric tunnels to making precise edits for profiles, and even to enhanced terrain contour views, InfraWorks works like a charm.
The program also offers rare qualities such as seamless design management, delaying automatic design regeneration for efficient road centerline modification, and dynamic terrain manipulation.
Well, it has some steep learning curve but with Autodesk publishing tons of interactive tutorials and videos, you should soon find your way no matter the sophistication of the project at hand.
If you’re passionate about delivering more accurate road designs, stunning 3D visualization, and excellent collaboration, InfraWorks 360 could be the way to go.
Subscription starts at $200 per month.
Bentley OpenRoads Designer
Bentley OpenRoads is a multi-talented road design software and comes with practically every tool you need for accurate highway designs.
Based on Bentley Inroads, one of the pioneer road design programs, Bentley OpenRoads brings the consistency that may be lacking in the newest models.
It’s actually similar to InfraWorks 360 software in a sense. For example, you can easily process complex surface models for road projects requiring advanced topographic features.
The incorporated graphical template development is also as interactive and intuitive as its rivals.
Coming to alignments, the program makes it easy to get proper coordinates without necessarily duplicating road designs.
The modeling bit is another welcoming component as it allows one to design projects according to terrain and site constraints.
Its 3D abilities are up there with the best and permit quick cross-section views as well as real-time visualization of the design workflow.
Perhaps the developer could do better in menu layout which still looks a bit cumbersome but that notwithstanding, it’s quite competitive.
Download Bentley OpenRoads Trial to get started.
Site3D is one of the most user-friendly highway design software.
Indeed, everything here is a breeze even for those who have never used road design software: Setup, project initialization, design elements loading…you name it.
As a result, it’s very quick in producing preliminary design essentials such as roundabouts, footways, drainage, and junctions.
Similarly, you can deliver the first highway layout within no time making it handy especially when you need to make an urgent presentation.
The realistic 3D visualizations, clear real-time workflows, efficient and accurate calculations (BIM is built-in), and intuitive point-and-click design tools make it a dream.
Site3D also allows varied input methods so you can work exactly the way you want and feed all your unique road project requirements.
And in case you’re stuck- and that happens pretty rarely-, the software support acts rapidly with a personalized solution.
Overall, the software enhances productivity, makes design tasks more enjoyable, and simplifies your work even in epic projects.
- Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in other software for engineers, check out our wide collection of guides.
A versatile solution, RoadEng produces magnificent designs wherever deployed. Whether in designing rural roads, highways, resource roads, intermediaries, national roads, forest paths, or motorway exchanges, RoadEng has impeccable results.
Impressively, it’s not a complicated software and takes minimal effort to get the hang of things.
The flow is awesome from conceptualization to finish and everything in between including calculating earthwork quantities and creating horizontal/vertical alignments.
The real-time interactivity means you see the data instantly and change the design, if needed, without wasting time.
Geometric road design is simplified thanks to the intuitive graphical user interface and customizable layouts.
You create in 3D while simultaneously sharing and showcasing your designs thanks to the expansive multi-plot report builder.
The other thing pleasing aspect is the RoadEng technical support team: They are prompt and very professional.
In short, this could be all you need to become a star road designer.
When comparing the best software for highway design, look at factors such as the learning curve, real-time interactivity, and ease of sharing.
It should also have an intuitive user interface and run seamlessly.
Above all, it should be powerful enough to deliver on what you plan to accomplish in road designs.
Our list has some of the very best programs in the market right now and which we believe makes top-notch highway/road designs.
Please tell us about your pick from the comments section.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.