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27 CASE STUDY 6: FLORIDA DEPARTMENT process by which the federal, state, and local highway OF TRANSPORTATION agencies work to get the best overall project value for the taxpayer. Project management has determined that through Contact: the use of visualization technologies within the value engi- District Value Engineering Coordinator neering process, several key goals can be achieved, includ- FDOT District 6 ing better project understanding, the selection of more Environmental Management Office effective alternatives, and cost savings. Simply stated, 1000 NW 111 Avenue value engineering is an organized application of common Miami, FL 33172 sense and technical knowledge directed at finding and eliminating unnecessary costs or adding functions or fea- Organization tures to a project (14). Visualization technologies are frequently used in FDOT The FDOT value engineering department started using projects. Their use is determined on a case-by-case basis by value engineering in the design and construction phases of the project managers for each project. The type and amount projects in the 1970s. A few years ago, the department's dis- of visualization technology use is based on the project trict value engineering coordinators discussed adding another manager's experience with the technology and discussion feature to the program, "value added." This concept caused with various in-house staff, vendors, and consultants. There some initial confusion as to whether to report the additions is no regional visualization division. The FDOT Central as negative savings. The issue was resolved by developing a Office allows each district to determine how to develop and separate tracking function as value added. The consensus was use visualization. FDOT does not have a centralized strate- that value engineering was a cost-reduction program, and that gic plan to develop visualization technologies in-house. program was what was originally tracked. FDOT District 6 has an on-staff visualization technician, The addition of the new feature helped change the image but not a formal district visualization section or directive. of value engineering and opened the institutional mindset to CADD applications are being used in-house to create photo- accept concepts such as "value in advance," which is the simulation, renderings, and animation. To augment the potential to move value engineering into the planning phase capabilities of the visualization technician, higher-capacity where hard cost estimates are not as readily available. The hardware components have been provided. Typically, these potential for improving the value of a project in the early hardware configurations are CADD-based systems with stages has always been recognized, and the department's larger hard drives and memory components and include management believed that this potential improvement could advanced graphic cards. The technician is usually dedicated now be made on corridor projects. Thus, a planning-level to a specific project and works with the project manager to project was selected to explore this new approach. determine the type of visual tool used and the production schedule to complete it. Value Engineering and Visualization Why the Need for Visualization? A value engineering study using visualization technologies was implemented and reviewed for Okeechobee Road (U.S. District 6 typically has several high-profile projects being Highway 27), a six-lane, controlled-access highway. For this conducted simultaneously. Because of the volume of these project, managers wanted to avoid a common problem asso- projects, the district must also rely on consultants and vendors ciated with many value engineering studies; the problem of to create the visuals required. These projects usually involve not having enough information early enough to make a rea- a significant amount of public involvement. Visualization sonable decision based on facts. To help fill in the missing technologies are frequently used for public involvement at information, the value engineering team used GIS databases District 6 and at most other districts within FDOT. District 6 and visualization techniques. In addition, the project man- has used a wide variety of visualization applications for agers initiated a process to improve regulatory agency input public involvement, ranging from computer rendering and early in the project. This new process, called "Efficient animation to multimedia development and virtual reality Transportation Decision Making," was developed by both simulations. the department and its normal review agencies (e.g., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Envi- ronmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Implementation Plan Service) (15). Providing interactive visual simulations helped bring timely and pertinent comments for the for Okee- The District 6 value engineering department has recog- chobee Road project (see Figure 31). As a result, the project nized the importance of using visualization earlier in the managers did not miss any time-critical opportunities, and project development process. "Value engineering" is the fatal flaws were eliminated.