• Hatch Mott MacDonald

    Intelligent Rail Signal Design via 2D Schematics and 3D Models

    Ontario, Canada

Project Summary

Hatch Mott McDonald, a consulting engineering firm, have used a conventional CAD-based system to design rail signal systems. But this approach had serious limitations. For example, the designs had no intelligence or connection to bills of materials, making accuracy difficult. Designers had no way to model their work or collaborate on designs, which slowed down projects. As part of the company’s building information modeling (BIM) initiative, management wanted to introduce intelligence, automation, and multi-dimensional modeling into the rail signal design process.

Hatch Mott McDonald deployed Bentley software to introduce added intelligence into the design process using 2D schematics and 3D models. It allows users to work on intelligent 3D models that are linked in real time to the electrical schematics required for rail signal design.

Hatch Mott MacDonald’s new intelligent rail signal design system turns each draftsperson into a designer. Bentley’s solution converts each line drawn into an entity with metadata from its rail signalling database already attached to it. As components are placed into a drawing, the metadata is used to create a bill of materials (BOM) and update project estimates and budgets. The system also allows designers to work more efficiently thanks to automation of the front end of the design process, access and use of the single project database, and the adherence to client standards delivered as a result.

Hatch Mott MacDonald used MicroStation, Bentley Navigator, ProjectWise, and Promis.e to operationalize its intelligent rail signal design system. Using Promis.e’s rail signal database, project teams can create schematic symbols that link to metadata intelligence and are directly related to the 3D layouts containing the 2D schematic overlay. The system is integrated with ProjectWise to enable sharing of project drawings and multiple user access to the Promis.e database.

  • The solution is able to cut design costs by up to 35% and the time required to drive a design through the first of three levels of Hatch Mott MacDonald’s design process by half.
  • The time required to produce and maintain a BOM is virtually eliminated.
  • By integrating rail signal designs with 3D civil engineering design models, Hatch Mott MacDonald is moving toward its goal of having a 5D framework incorporating time and cost.
User Quote:
  • “Bentley's Promis.e has enabled Hatch Mott MacDonald to make a paradigm shift in design methodology, thereby saving owner’s time and money while providing innovative services and ensuring quality.”

    Nathan Higgins, P Eng, PE, PMP HMM Practice Leader Rail & Transit