The Bridge Engineering Software & Technology (BEST) Center of the University of Maryland was established in 1986 to develop bridge related technology and provide a mechanism whereby the bridge oriented software which was developed for the Maryland State Highway Administration is made available on a commercial basis to other state design agencies and private consultants. To ensure that the services and software provided by the BEST Center is of demonstrable quality, in order to avoid potential liability, the State of Maryland has provided substantial resources to support the commercialization process. These resources have been provided over a twenty-year period from the Maryland State Highway Administration and numerous other sources. The BEST Center has been in operation for over ten years and has established a premiere quality development team and user base. Through bridge related projects, including laboratory and on-site testing, the BEST Center has accumulated years of experience and knowledge related to bridges.
Status of the Center
- The BEST Center, under requirements defined jointly by the Attorney General of the State of Maryland and the University of Maryland in addressing software liability, has established standards for the development, documentation, quality testing and assurance (QA/QT) procedures, as well as for the field of testing of software through beta test sites.
- A Library of bridge-related publications and various literature has been collected and established for easy reference of bridge analysis, construction, inspection, maintenance, surveillance, and management. Testing equipment, such as for data collection, is used for laboratory or on-site testing in the bridge area.
- The BEST Center supports a group of full time staff, including structural engineers at the Ph.D level and a Manager/Administrative Assistant. Also associated with the BEST Center are Graduate Research Assistants seeking Ph.D. and MSCE degrees.
- The BEST Center provides bridge-related courses or bridge software training courses around the country.