|Up & Coming Vol. 97
User Introduction Vol. 97
Chuo-kensetsu Consultant Co., Ltd.,
|"We think it is one of our unique characteristics in Okinawa to have the post that mainly works on traffic analysis".
One of the most popular tourist destination rich in natural environment, Okinawa is also known as a region largely depending on automobiles. As a result, a variety of traffic problems are actually brought about such as chronic traffic jam mainly around the urban region, decrease in the occupancy ratio of the public transport, and the influence that the exhaust-gas of automobiles has on environment.
Consequently, the prefecture promotes highway development to secure traffic capacity in response to the increase of automobile users. At the same time, different actions are attempted, e.g. building up an appropriate transportation system while managing the transportation demand on the basis of locality.
Such a process requires traffic analysis in consideration of changes in traffic capacity or demand depending on the needs, contributing to development of effective policies or examination of measures.
The last one in this special cover on our users in Okinawa features Chuo-kensetsu Consultant Co., Ltd. Starting with soil survey, the Company has been expanding its services to design and survey, construction management, traffic survey, and so on. Among these, Mr. Hideki Sunagawa, President of the Company mentioned the unique point of view for organizing a section (Research Department) in charge of traffic survey and analysis with locality of Okinawa, traffic issues, and directions of expanding transport policies in consideration.
The Company has been adopting FORUM8 products since more than 20 years ago, including those related with earth retaining works and bridge substructure. Currently, they are mainly using software programs for structure analysis and cross-section calculation, for superstructure and substructure etc. of bridges, and for the road and earth works. They hope to make a further use of FORUM8 products for repair and reinforcement for which the needs are increasing.
Urasoe city is positioned at a corner of the west coast of the southern part of the main island of Okinawa facing the East China Sea. The city adjoins Naha city in the south and Ginowan city in the north. Urasoe city has been developing as a commercial city partly because of its good access of about 30 min. drive from Naha Airport.
The headquarters office of Chuo Kensetsu Consultant Co., Ltd. was located in the urban district about 400m east of the National highway No. 58 running along the coast within the city.
It is 1963 that the forerunner of the Company, Unlimited Partnership Chuo Soil Survey Institute was founded. It will see the 50th anniversary come round in July next year.
It changed the form of the company into the limited partnership in 1966. Then after experiencing merger in 1969, it added Designing Department and Survey Department to the former organization with research, test, and analysis of soil and geology as its main business, restarting as current Chuo-kensetsu Consultant Co., Ltd. Later Construction Management Department was established in 1972, and Research Department in 1977.
"Originally we were engaged in soil-related business (as the then-company name "Chuo Soil Survey Institute" indicates). Then we spread the business scope into highway design and bridge design."
Meanwhile, the Company paid attention to traffic analysis early, and accumulated technical know-how. In recent years, this has become the Company's original advantage when it is required to calculate the cost benefit ratio (B/C) etc. in designing highway outline, which is leading to increased weight of traffic analysis within the Company, as Mr. Hideki Sunagawa explains.
The present, the company is composed of the following 8 departments: (1) Marketing Department (2) General Affairs Department (3) Survey department (4) Soil Department (5) Research Department (6) The 1st Designing Department (in charge of bridges) (7) The 2nd Designing Department (in charge of highways) (8) Construction Management Department. Currently 44 employees are assigned to them.
Originally starting from geology and soil-related business, the Company has been engaged in general ground analysis for highways and port facilities, combining boring research, in-situ tests, and indoor soil tests. In recent years, the Company's main services include subsurface investigation for inspection and repair of existing structures, soil survey of the ground overtaken by a natural disaster, magnetic exploration for blind shells, and soil environmental research in a construction work.
In addition, Survey Department supports a wide range of survey work. Particularly in recent years, while more advanced specialty and technologies are demanded, the Company introduced the latest equipment and technology positively to increase the accuracy of survey results and work efficiency.
Research Department that characterizes the Company makes full use of research data accumulated since the foundation of the company as well as advanced information and communication technologies (ICT), and performs traffic volume estimation and improvement effect analysis of various highways, public transportation planning, traffic management and maintenance plan, and highway planning (outline design and preliminary design). It also performs planning and analysis support of the traffic count in cooperation with Survey Department.
Furthermore, Design Division of the company is composed of the 1st Design Department in charge of bridges and 2nd Design Department in charge of highways as mentioned above.
Design of the highways and incidental facilities has been involved in a large number of projects ranging from motorways to national and municipal roads. In recent years, the Company is designing highways with consideration for bicycle travel, highways linked with the roadside town planning, and incidental facilities.
Regarding bridges, the Company took part in the design of bridges to solitary islands such as the Hamahiga Ohashi Bridge, the Henzakaichu Ohashi Bridge, the Warumi Ohashi Bridge, and Irabu Ohashi Bridge; or main bridges in Okinawa including the track beam of the Okinawa city monorail, in the form of Joint Venture with other construction consultants outside the prefecture. In particular, the Warumi Ohashi Bridge (North Okinawa civil engineering office) designed by JV with CTI Engineering Co., Ltd. won the 2010 Japan Prestressed Concrete Institute Award / Best Work Award, and 2011 Japan Concrete Institute Award / Best Work Award.
In recent years, the Company also works on designing bridges a preventive maintenance type or in consideration of environment, as well as pedestrian bridges in consideration of the line of flow of pedestrians. At the same time, the Company lays emphasis on inspection / diagnosis, repair / reinforcement of civil engineering structures including bridges.
"Volume of data is getting larger particularly recently, whether it may be traffic volume or bridge design."
When considering of utilizing the data among plural participants, such approach was required to manage them by gathering them at one place. However, since the capacity of the file server became scarce, a new blade server was introduced in March this year. Regarding the current situation, the present problems about the in-house data management and its use have been solved by linking the server with the already constructed in-house LAN, says Mr. Futoshi Kamekawa, CALS/EC Expert of the Company in charge of ICT-related management within the company.
"I think we possess most of the FORUM8 software products released in the field of bridges (for the necessary areas)".
It dates back to more than 20 years ago that the Company started to introduce FORUM8 products, firstly for earth retaining works and next for the bridge substructure. When comparing with the products of other companies before adoption, its easiness to input and the output that matched the needs were decisive factors, as Mr. Shin Tawata, Director of the 1st Design Department looks back.
It is the products related with bridge substructure including "Abutment design", "Bridge pier design", and "Seismic coefficient calculation (support design)" that are used most frequently. Besides, they have "RC cross-section calculation"; "Pile foundation design", "Foundation design calculation", and "Caisson type pile foundation frame analysis" for foundation engineering-related products; "Temporary sheathing work design" and "Temporary piled jetty design" for temporary works; "Grid analysis" and "Bridge fall prevention system design calculation" for the bridge superstructure. For the road and earth works, there are a wide range of products including "BOX culvert design" and "Retaining wall design".
Further, 3D analysis program for space-framed structures "UC-win/FRAME(3D)" was introduced when it was required to install a scaffold in a very short time as part of soil survey and to perform three-dimensional dynamic analysis in a hurry.
Mr. Futoshi Kamekawa, who manage issues of ICT including individual software collectively within the company express his anxiety that it is hard to maintain these many pieces of software when those versions are updated. In this sense, he checks "the user information page" for exclusive use of the license user frequently. He says that referring to this has solved many of the problems encountered so far.
On the other hand, Mr. Yasuyuki Shimamura, Chief of the 1st Design Department, is just using "Seismic coefficient calculation" along with "Bridge pier design" and "Abutment design" for preliminary design in the new bridge project. When some trouble happens in relation to the version update during the work, he can get support from FORUM8 through Mr. Futoshi Kamekawa, so he does not have any problem in particular.
The environment surrounding public works in Okinawa have been changing. Projects for constructing highways and bridges are decreasing, while the weight on inspection and repair / reinforcement works is increasing. Mr. Shin Tawata mentions more effective use of FORUM8 software products in consideration of such a transition.
In addition, it is traffic analysis that the company emphasizes as the commercial axis currently. It was "the first person trip survey in the middle south urban area of the main island of Okinawa" carried out in 1977 that served as the impetus for this. This was aiming at developing a master urban transportation plan for the future by grasping flow of the people in the area concerned. Later, the 2nd survey was conducted in 1989, and the 3rd one in 2006. This urban area contains diverse challenges in particular, such as population increase, traffic congestion, and use of the former US base. Therefore, based on the surveys, expansion of trunk road networks and the monorail has been promoted so far, and work is going on as well for developing new transportation plan.
The Company set up Research Department at the time of undertaking the first survey. Since then, the Company has been participating in different transportation planning and highway planning projects within the prefecture. While strengthening the organization through such processes, the Company has been accumulating expertise on estimating traffic volume, highway improvement effect analysis, cost benefit analysis, and a variety of highway / urban planning.
In particular, the company represents and estimates diverse traffic events in relation to the region-wide route network planning on an urban area level or traffic planning on a district level based on the accumulated survey data. Through this traffic simulation, the Company makes quantitative evaluations on the improvement effect of the project, such as B/C and change in the traffic flow, congestion loss time, access time, and CO2 discharge reduction effect.
Still further, the Company is creating VR (virtual reality) / CG (computer graphics) for the project with a construction plan. Mr. Toshiaki Miyaguni of the Research Department, who is in charge of the task using other tool at present, is interested in the potential of FORUM8's 3D real time VR "UC-win/Road", which realizes explanation easier to understand using 3D.
"We think that it will be requested to use VR in explanation and consensus building in preliminary design and outline design of a new highway in future", says Mr. Hideki Sunagawa, expecting for a chance to show the Company's advantages in this field.
(Interviewed and written by Takashi Ikeno)