Bentley Systems, a global provider of comprehensive software and digital twin cloud services for the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure, and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the United States, this year presented the annual Transportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC) contest for middle and high school students in a virtual setting. Originally scheduled to be held during AASHTO’s spring meeting in Kansas City, organizers re-invented the competition as the “AASHTO Virtual TRAC Showcase” as a result of COVID-19 social-distancing restrictions.
The Bentley-sponsored AASHTO National Bridge and Structure TRAC Bridge Challenge invites students from 7th-12th grades to design innovative bridge projects using Bentley applications. This year, 18 finalist teams were selected. However, when AASHTO made the difficult decision not to hold the event in person, Bentley partnered with AASHTO to host the “Virtual TRAC Showcase” on June 3. While only 12 of the 18 teams could present in the online forum, it served as an opportunity to recognize students for their hard work, allowing them to present virtually their projects in front of parents, teachers, sponsors, state departments of transportation, and AASHTO members.
The winning teams from Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, and Mississippi, with names including “The Suspension Is Killing Me,” “Bridge O Matics,” and “Cable Stayed Mustangs,” presented their bridge projects designed using Bentley software that included MicroStation, OpenRoads, and ContextCapture. The 10-minute presentations allowed each team to demonstrate how they designed the bridges and built models of their designs with balsawood. Each member of the 12 teams received a certificate and gift card provided by Bentley Systems, Michael Baker International, and TopoDOT to acknowledge the students for their outstanding work.
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