Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
New Autodesk InfraWorks 360 Release Offers Improved Productivity Enhancements and Performance
October 28th, 2015 by Susan Smith
Autodesk’s mid-year release of InfraWorks 360 was discussed in a recent press webinar.
Eric Chappell, Community Evangelist, Infraworks 360, noted that the latest version was released September 2.
InfraWorks® 360 model analysis tools can help you understand a project’s geographic context more clearly. With InfraWorks 360 software, geospatial analysis, such as buffering, overlay, and slope analysis, is integrated into the planning and design environment to help you make better decisions throughout the project.
The release is divided into three areas:
For those who already own the product, the new release comes at no extra cost.
“Traffic simulation is not a new feature,” said Chappell. “We often put features out in preview status before they get supported as a full feature. Corridor optimization is one that is in preview right now. We want our users to try out technology before we release it as a full feature set so we make sure we get it right, and so we make the features relevant. Traffic simulation is now a robust fully supported feature set and has its own additional user interface. It is one of the biggest individual features we’ve released in some time.”
This feature allows the InfraWorks 360 user to analyze traffic flow for complex road systems. Chappell gave the example of seven or eight roads. You can set up demand saying you are expecting this amount of traffic to be produced from this zone and you will analyze traffic based on a number of parameters that simulate real traffic behavior.
“You can zoom in on one specific area and it’s that person who hangs out in the left turning lane but really wants to turn right. That’s simulated in the software and as the driver clogs up traffic. The idea is you don’t have to be a traffic engineer now to identify problems and you can go in and redesign and re-analyze the change. From the beginning it identifies the problem area and then will go and add a terrain – it will show where there’s going to be a delay, where traffic will back up. We can redesign that intersection and add a turning lane and that takes care of the problem. We can rerun the traffic simulation and see that we’ve actually fixed the issue and don’t have congestion any more at that intersection.”
This is what is called “in canvas analytics” by Autodesk – where you are seeing feedback about your design right in the model. You don’t have to go out to a third party or another screen, allowing customers to make design changes early, in this case based on traffic analytics.
Expanded capabilities –
Intersection turn control – This is an added amount of control that put into intersections where each lane can be individually controlled, in which directions traffic is allowed to turn. This affects pavement markings but also controls median construction.
“When we force the upper road to be right turn only and the lower road to be straight only it closes up the median restricting traffic flow through that area,” said Chappell. “We’re talking about a true Building Information Modeling (BIM) solution where our design intent is affecting the outcome of the model. The designer in this example is not doing anything extra to add median, so it gives you more control, more automatic results, a smart easy way to design traffic intersections. The traffic flow controls you set here are understood by traffic simulation. This turning direction allowance will fit in with the simulation you do with the traffic simulation part of you do with software.”
Expanded capabilities with intersections and roundabouts add more complex solutions with intersections. In the past, when you did one road across from each other they had to be pretty much aligned to get good intersection. Now they can be offset and get a good result. Pavement marking has been added in roundabouts also, as well as support for left and right hand driving on the roundabouts.
The larger the study area for traffic simulation, the number of cloud credits goes up. There are no cloud credits used for roundabout simulation.
Roadway Design – Style transition lengths –InfraWorks 360 is a family of products including roadway design, bridge design and drainage design that plug into InfraWorks 360. There are these core tools and an additional product is InfraWorks 360 LT, a lighter version. A new feature is changing transition lengths or road style to another. You can control it in both zones: rural and residential, make transition across a distance you can specify.
This transition zone could not be controlled in past versions, if you wanted to stretch it out over larger area.
Roadway Design for InfraWorks 360 has much better graphical editing in preview graphics especially for larger models. The visual graphics allow you to make changes to the road.
Railway Design –Railways often come in multiples. “We wanted to make it easier for folks who were dealing with two, three or ten tracks, to be able to do things like modify the geometry,” said Chappell. “If you were creating a bridge with four or five tracks it treated each track as an individual. Now we can select four or five tracks, and we can group them together and select two tracks and combine features, mix geometry adjacent, and allow person to edit them as one unit. We’re using a style to add a bridge. It treats the tracks as one unit.”
Bridge Design – InfraWorks 360 now has library of pier types, a lot of different nice looking industry recognized styles, and control over them. There is also a library of foundations as well. You can now have really nice bridge designs by having control over piers.
Now piers have their own asset cards, and you can make changes and see them as you go.
An additional productivity tool called Apply To, allows you to apply to all piers in the design, and don’t have to reenter values. Also included is the Apply To tool for girders, as you have more girders than piers.
Points of interest (POI) in an InfraWorks model are markers that you can place in the model that tell either yourself or a designer that there is something important at that location. The functionality of those points of interest has been extended to WebView, so that means you can place points of interest in your model and publish that model to the web and anyone with a browser can view the model in that WebView and see what you’re trying to get across.
“If you’re trying to draw attention to certain important features in the model or information about the model, this is easily done through the POI,” explained Chappell. ‘It doesn’t require extra work. The WebViewer functionality will recognize POI and will automatically include them in the WebView that you publish for browser consumption.”
Within WebViews is a panoramic view that lets you stand in one spot and get a 360 degree view in any direction of the model. This is useful for anyone who doesn’t have the InfraWorks 360 or only has a web browser.
Autodesk customers can go and download the latest version or the application manager installed and they’ll see latest version available. If someone isn’t a current customer, they can go to the product page and download the trial and that will get them the latest release.