ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.

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Page 43 of 55

FHWA Federal Highway Administration Releases Mobile Application for Bridge Inspector’s Manual by Doug Blades, Federal Highway Administration When certified inspectors perform bridge inspections, they rely on a 2000-page manual to guide them. The Bridge Inspector’s Reference Manual (BIRM) is typically contained in two three-ring binders and contains just about everything a bridge inspector needs to know about the national bridge inspection standards, the duties of a bridge inspection team, basic bridge terminology, and how to perform bridge inspections. But because of its bulkiness, bridge inspectors hesitate to carry the manual into the field, preferring instead to leave the two binders in their office or vehicle. But what if bridge inspectors could fit the entire BIRM into their pocket? That’s what the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) National Highway Institute (NHI) has done. To make the BIRM more accessible and easier to use, NHI has developed a free mobile application of the BIRM that bridge inspectors can access on their smartphones or tablets. “NHI strives to develop reference material in a format that can be useful to practitioners,” says Louisa Ward, the BIRM application project manager and training program manager at NHI. “Today’s professionals demand just-in-time learning and the BIRM app fills that need for the bridge inspection community.” The BIRM application includes all the content from the manual, including information on improved bridge inspection techniques, culverts, fracture critical members, cablestayed bridges, prestressed concrete segmental bridges, moveable bridge inspection, underwater inspection, nondestructive evaluation, and critical findings. With the importance of our inspection program growing as our bridges age, there is greater need than ever to have inspections that are both high quality and consistent among inspection teams. By optimizing the Bridge Inspector’s Reference Manual for mobile devices, inspection teams can routinely use the manual to ensure we have the best inspections possible. The BIRM application has many features to make the bridge inspector’s job easier: • The application works on the Apple iOS and Android platforms. NHI plans to expand the BIRM app to work on the Microsoft Windows and Blackberry platforms. • The application optimizes the screen size so that information is displayed full size on smartphones and tablets. • Organized into chapters and topics so that users can download either the entire

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