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The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 52-19 [Active (Synthesis)]

Technological Capabilities of DOTs for Digital Project Management and Delivery
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/1/2020 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Jo Allen Gause
Research Agency: University of Kentucky
Principal Investigator: Gabe Dadi
Effective Date: 10/14/2020
Fiscal Year: 2021

Final Scope


Many believe the next sea change in efficiency and productivity for the highway industry will be the “digitalization” of project management and delivery, the ability to seamlessly use digital information across all project phases for visualization, automation, decision making, and management. FHWA has invested over $35 million to support this, in the form of components of the larger concept of Building Information Modeling (BIM) for Infrastructure. Examples of this investment include 3D modeling, e-Construction, automated Machine Guidance (AMG), sUAS (small drones), and BIM research. An FHWA 2019 Global Benchmarking study, which focused on BIM, revealed that digitalization within the highway industry is an international priority.

For many years, digital design, construction, and management methods as components of BIM have been improving delivery in the “vertical” building industry by creating efficiencies that lower costs, generate fewer field “clashes,” and increase the speed of construction. Recently, some of those technologies have made their way into civil infrastructure and transportation projects and have been steadily gaining traction with both departments of transportation (DOTs) and industry. For example, 3D models and e-Construction have gained significant momentum as the design and construction components of BIM, in which traditional paper and pdf documentation is replaced with digital information and tools to improve workflows and save time and money. Some DOTs have taken further steps to incorporate such digital technologies into their whole-enterprise business processes, moving toward the vision of BIM for life-cycle data management. Other DOTs have not strayed far from traditional techniques, waiting to see where digitalization makes sense and provides real benefits.

The objective of this synthesis is to document the use of advanced digital construction management (ADC) systems by DOTs in the delivery of highway projects, from planning to design to construction to maintenance and asset management. ADC includes components of BIM such as e-Construction, 3D models, digital documentation, and geospatial tools that are working to leverage digital efficiencies.

Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):
• DOT use of various components of ADC;
• Extent of ADC use (e.g., 3D models for design only, provided to the contractor for information only, or provided to the contractor as a legal document; sUAS for aerial imagery or project documentation/inspection; type of construction project);
• Transfer and use of digital data between highway construction project stakeholders (e.g., internal DOT, contractors, consultants, utility companies, public involvement)
• Transfer of digital data for asset management;
• Challenges to implementing, collecting, and sharing digital data; and
• DOT documentation on data governance

Information will be collected through literature review, a survey of DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.

TRB Staff
Jo Allen Gause
Phone: 202-334-3826
Email: jagause@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: October 14, 2020, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: November 9, 2020 from 3:00pm,Eastern 
Second Panel: June 24, 2021, Washington, DC

Topic Panel

Connor Christian, HDR
Rebecca Hjelm, Utah Department of Transportation
Wei Johnson, South Carolina Department of Transportation
Michael Kennerly, Iowa Department of Transportation
Jesus Mora, California Department of Transportation
Skip Powell, Alabama Department of Transportation
Shawn Smith, Maine Department of Transportation
Katherine Petros, Federal Highway Administration
Robert Shea, Transportation Research Board

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