The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 54-04 [Active (Synthesis)]

Mobile Devices as a Tool for Digitalized Project Documentation and Inspection
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Staff Responsibility: Edward T Harrigan
Research Agency: University of Kentucky
Principal Investigator: Hala Nassereddine
Effective Date: 6/20/2023
Completion Date: 12/20/2024
Fiscal Year: 2023

Final Scope


Consumer-grade mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, peripheral devices, and Rovers, are increasingly used as innovative tools in construction project delivery, documentation, and inspection. Advancements in camera technology combined with increased accuracy in geolocation, graphical displays, and LiDAR abilities provide a very powerful engineering/construction technology that is also widely accessible and used by most construction professionals on jobsites. A sample of mobile device applications that can be utilitized by construction professionals include: digitalized documents; geolocation of data; augmented reality with engineering precession; capturing 3D images of as-built conditions through built-in LiDAR cameras; object recognition through AI; viewing of 3-D models; access to inspection history; connecting QA results to the model; data storage, object recognition, and feature extraction methods; and, improved communications.

The objective of this synthesis is to document state DOT practices for using mobile devices to support digitized project documentation and inspection.

Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):

·         Areas within DOTs using mobile devices for construction documentation and inspection (e.g., construction, maintenance, planning);

·         Inspection functions (e.g., submission of inspection reports, capturing of as-built conditions, and retrieval of inspection documentation) supported through mobile devices;

·         Data integration with other systems and applications (e.g., building information modeling);

·         Specific mobile device technologies (e.g., lidar, augmented reality, cellular cameras, and digital display of 3D graphical models) being utilitized by inspectors;

·         Cost implications for using mobile devices (e.g., capital replacement, software licenses, operational costs, costs of protective cases);

·         Methods for data storage, object recognition, and feature extraction;

·         Automated or manual work flow with no-code or low-code applications;

·         Mobile network for uploading field data;

·         Policies and practices regarding the use of personal and/or DOT-issued mobile devices; and;

·         Barriers and challenges (e.g., connectivity, data security, training, mobile device management, application administration) associated with using mobile devices for construction and inspection.

Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state 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.

 Information Sources (Partial): 

·         Obaidat, M. (2020).  “Cellular-phone-based system for transportation engineering applications.” Elsevier’s Alexandria Engineering Journal. 59(3). pp. 1197-1204.

·         Pew Research Center: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/mobile/.  Last accessed Feb 16, 2022

·         Steenbruggen, J., Tranos, E., and Nijkamp, P. (2015).  “Data from mobile phone operators: a tool for smarter cities.” Elsevier’s Telecommunicaity Policy. 39(3-4), pp. 335-346.

·         Ordaz, M. and Doyle, J.D. (2021).  “Quantifying Extreme Event-induced Pavemetn Roughness via Smart Phone Apps.” ASCE Geo-Extreme 2021. November 7-10, 2021. Savanna, Georgia.

·         Li, N. and Becerik-Gerber, B. (2012).  “Assessment of a Smart Phone-Based Indoor Localization Solution for Improving Context Awareness in the Construction Industry.” ASCE International Conference on Computing in Civil Engineering. June 17-20, 2012. Clearwater Beach, Florida.

·         NCHRP Synthesis Report 594 Technological Capabilities of Departments of Transportation for Digital Project Management and Delivery (2022) (https://nap.nationalacademies.org/download/26738

·         NCHRP Report 582, Highway Infrastructure Inspection Practices for the Digital Age (2022) (https://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/182717.aspx). 

TRB Staff

Edward Harrigan

Phone: 540-454-2149

Email: eharrigan@nas.edu 


Meeting Dates

First Panel: 28 March 2023, Virtual meeting

Teleconference with Consultant: 2 May 2023 

Second Panel: 17 January 2024


Topic Panel

Pouria Asadi, University of Rhode Island

Colin Doran, Caltrans

Rebecca Embacher, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Kyle Gonterwitz, City of Lawrence, Kansas

Aine Mines, Landslide Technology

Molly Perrigo, Vermont Agency of Transportation

Janet Treadway, Ohio Department of Transportation

Katherine Petros, FHWA Liaison

Nelson Gibson, TRB Liaison


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