OpenRoads Designer is making huge advancements on its predecessors at a good rate
March 19, 2021

OpenRoads Designer is making huge advancements on its predecessors at a good rate

Warren McLachlan | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with OpenRoads Designer

OpenRoads Designer is used at SMEC South Africa in the design and modelling of roads and highways projects. We use it to develop the entire design from concept through to detail design, plans production, and visualisation.
OpenRoads Designer is used almost exclusively by the Roads and Highways Function at SMEC, although we are trying to expand its usage into Urban Development and Construction & Pavements.
OpenRoads Designer addresses the issue of being required to develop multiple feasible design solutions rapidly without as much effort as a simple CAD package would require.
  • Integration with other disciplines. If one uses Bentley's companion products like OpenBridge Modeler or OpenSite Designer, there is no need to export any design information to other disciplines as the .dgn files can be directly referenced into other applications.
  • Visualisation - ORD comes bundled with a free version of LumenRT which produces amazing engineering and architectural renderings and can even be used in VR applications.
  • Design Environment. Being based on the DGN file format is brilliant - being able to have multiple models within a single file has so many advantages over the DWG file format.
  • This may only be applicable to South Africa, but training and product support definitely need a lot of improvement.
  • Some tools are over complicated and no simpler tool is provided. There is a bit of an obsession with preserving design intent to the point that making simple geometry edits is a really tedious task.
  • Usage of hardware. The software has mostly been programmed for single thread operations - so if you have 8 cores, only 1 will be used. It's a real shame of system resources to not use all of those cores to cut production time!
  • Drawing production - especially exporting drawings to DWG format is a massive pain.
  • Graphics Engine - seeing what game engines are capable of in their 3D working environments makes me wonder why all engineering software can't perform similarly.
  • Efficiency in designing (and visualising) alternative designs. Huge positive as clients are expecting this to be standard now.
  • A negative would be the learning curve (as mentioned, training material is a bit lacking). The time taken to learn the software when the pressure to produce designs is on sometimes hurts the bottom line.
  • It's helped us win projects where we were competing against other consultants who didn't have software that could produce alternative designs to the same level of detail as quickly.
ORD is a lot faster and a lot more modern than Civil 3D even though they're essentially the same product under different names (in terms of workflows).
I find that the DGN file format used by ORD is far better than the DWG file format used by C3D because DGNs can contain much more information and multiple models per file.
C3D is very heavy on memorizing keyboard inputs while ORD is a much more modern interface that relies mostly on using the mouse for inputs.

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ORD is really focused on modeling of roads infrastructure projects, but includes a few design workflows that are in other disciplines such as stormwater and drainage design and site modeling tools for developments. This is really handy because you don't need a third-party application that you have to transfer your design files over to to carry on with the project. Including LumenRT for free with ORD is by far the most helpful feature because of the visualisation capabilities which most software does not include.
ORD is well-suited for what the name of the product says - designing roads. I wouldn't say there are any scenarios in road design that it is less appropriate for.