LONDON—A 3D modeling application for the conceptual-design phase of civil infrastructure projects is coming out in limited access by invitation only in March 2016. Bentley Systems Inc., Exton, Penn., announced OpenRoads ConceptStation along with a flurry of other civil releases and updates at The Year in Infrastructure 2015 Conference, held here Nov. 3-5.

The new civil BIM app “gives you the ability to go from a napkin sketch over your morning coffee, to a visually-rich 3D model design before you leave for the office,” said Dustin Parkman, Bentley vice president of product development, road, rail and site design. It’s aimed at engineering consultants and transportation agencies that need to quickly create preliminary design concepts and design alternatives and then communicate those designs to others.

“I could use this to speed up my daily workflow by allowing me to do a design and alternative in the morning and show to the different disciplines to get their input have a rendered stage in the evening and take it to the client the next day,” said Jenifer Steen, lead civil engineer, Parsons Brinckerhoff, New York City, during a presentation at the conference. “It normally takes a couple of weeks to design the concept and collaborate, now it can take just a few minutes.”

The app has an extensive library of pre-designed articles such as guardrails, streetlights and embankments that meet American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards. If users wish to add new articles or terrain, they can import them, as well.

"We can grab data from the cloud, rapidly create 3D models from different sources and sketch engineering design intuitively and quickly,” said Francois Valois, Bentley director of product management, who conceptualized and designed a highway overpass and exit lanes in 15 minutes when presenting it at the conference.

In CEO Greg Bentley’s keynote speech on Nov. 4, he spoke about another new civil infrastructure product called OpenRoads CONNECT Edition. Until now, OpenRoads was the name of a tool set of building information modeling capabilities for Bentley’s suite of civil engineering design products: InRoads, GEOPAK and MX. Now, OpenRoads capabilities are coming together as OpenRoads CONNECT Edition, Parkman said.

OpenRoads CONNECT Edition is the succession plan for combining InRoads, GEOPAK and MX products into a single roadway design product that brings the best elements of all three into one, Parkman noted. It builds on the three products and is faster, more robust and has a new user interface, among other updates, he added.

To bring most of OpenRoads’ capabilities to the job site, a mobile application called OpenRoads Navigator CONNECT Edition, is coming out in November of this year.