Criteria for Selecting Numeric Hydraulic Modeling Software

Hydraulic engineers have access to several hydraulic modeling software packages that can be used to analyze the hydraulics of bridge waterway crossings. Analysis can range from a simple analysis using a single cross-section and computed normal depth, to one-dimensional numeric modeling with multiple cross sections, to sophisticated two-dimensional numeric modeling. Flow rates used in the modeling can also vary in complexity from a single flow rate, to flow rates that vary along the river reach, to flow rates that vary with time. Site conditions in conjunction with project objectives, complexity, and resources should dictate the type of numeric modeling software used to analyze a project. When a simple modeling approach will not accurately predict hydraulic conditions, hydraulic engineers must use a more sophisticated modeling approach. A current perception in numeric modeling is that complex approaches require an increase in design cost and time; however, this may not be true in many situations. Because hydraulic engineers do not always know the relative benefits associated with various modeling approaches, criteria and guidance are needed to help hydraulic engineers select the most appropriate modeling approach. Currently, there is an emphasis on development and use of two-dimensional numeric models that produce more detailed and accurate analyses of river systems and bridge crossings. Until recently, the use of two-dimensional models required extensive field surveys and significant increases in personnel and computer resources compared with traditional one-dimensional approaches. With the advent of graphical user interfaces for two-dimensional modeling software and continued improvements in computer hardware, significant advances have been made in the ability to apply two-dimensional models to solve practical problems. However, very little information is available on the benefits of applying two-dimensional models. Research is therefore needed to define the conditions under which two-dimensional numeric models are warranted in the hydraulic analysis of bridge crossings in riverine and tidal systems. The objective of this research is to develop a decision analysis tool and guidelines to assist hydraulic engineers in selecting the most appropriate numeric modeling software for analyzing bridge openings in riverine and tidal systems.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $174957.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 24-24

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Diewald, Walter

  • Performing Organizations:

    Ocean Engineering Associates, Incorporated

    Gainesville, Florida  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Sheppard, Max

  • Start Date: 20040616
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20060930
  • Source Data: RiP Project 9015

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01463111
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 24-24
  • Files: RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:17PM