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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOR EFFICIENT PROJECT DELIVERY SUMMARY A National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) study was conducted in 2004 to study and quantify efficiency losses in the U.S capital facilities industry resulting from inad- equate information technology interoperability. Interoperability in this report is defined as the ability of two or more systems or components (software applications) to exchange infor- mation and to use the information that has been exchanged. The NIST study included design, engineering, facilities management, and business process software systems, as well as redundant paper records management across all facility life-cycle phases (commercial, institutional, and industrial construction market segments). In this 2004 study, Gallaher et al. state: Interoperability problems in the capital facilities industry stem from the highly fragmented nature of the industry, the industry's continued paper-based business practices, a lack of standardization, and inconsistent technology adoption among stakeholders . . . $15.8 billion in annual interoperability costs were quantified for the capital facilities industry in 2002. Of these costs, two-thirds are borne by owners and operators, which incur most of these costs during ongoing facility operation and mainte- nance (O&M). In addition to the costs quantified, respondents indicated that there are additional significant inefficiency and lost opportunity costs associated with interoperability problems that were beyond the scope of our analysis. Thus, the $15.8 billion cost estimate developed in this study is likely to be a conservative figure. In light of what has been defined as a very large problem by agencies such as NIST, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the General Services Administration, the Construction Industry Institute, the FIATECH consortium (fully integrated and automated technology), the International Alliance for Interoperability, and the Construction Sciences Research Founda- tion, NCHRP commissioned this synthesis report to study interoperability issues specifically related to state departments of transportation (DOTs). Although the capital facilities industry is not an exact metaphor for the public transportation design and construction process, the issues of data interoperability are comparable on most levels (internally and externally) to transportation agencies. Quantification of costs resulting from interoperability issues in the transportation sector is outside the scope of this report. The synthesis scope aimed at identifying "advanced processes" for the seamless sharing of information throughout all phases of the project delivery process, including procedural, institutional, human, and technical constraints and mechanisms. After a national survey of broad DOT data exchange practices was performed, several DOTs were selected for close inspection case studies. The results of these surveys, along with a review of literature pub- lished on the subject of data interoperability associated with project life-cycle processes, constitute the basis of this report. The synthesis consultants and NCHRP Topic Panel, during the course of the study, agreed to define advanced processes as the measure of how well the DOTs performed data-sharing and interoperability efficiency in three areas: 1. Internally within the DOT organization, 2. Externally with the project stakeholders, and 3. Across the project life-cycle stages.
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2 Efficiency is defined as 1. The ratio of the output to the input of any system. 2. Skillfulness in avoiding wasted time and effort (Information Technology Company 2007; WordNet3.0). 3. A management idea that asserts that there is a technique, method, process, activity, incentive, or reward that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc. (Wikipedia 2007). For the purposes of this synthesis, advanced processes are determined as the techniques and processes discovered from literature review, survey, and case study within the time and resource constraints of the project. There is little doubt that given more time and investiga- tion that many more occurrences of advanced processes being performed by other DOT agencies could be revealed. Other agencies performing digital processes were identified; however, there was neither the time nor resources available to investigate. The synthesis, however limited in its scope, has revealed some pertinent findings, as follows: · In general, agencies are transitioning to digital (versus electronic) data exchange as soft- ware applications and changes in work (business) processes enable them to do so. · Purely digital data exchanges currently are most prevalent in the design functional areas and the procurement functional areas. · The concept of three-dimensional (3D) design models for sharing data is emerging in the transportation sector. Several agencies reported applications of 3D design models with specifications to govern. · The 3D design model concept, transportation information model (TIM), appears to be adopted in only the early stages of the transportation construction project life cycle. Little activity is reported in the procurement, construction, or operations and maintenance functional areas. · Transportation agencies may be uniquely suited to embrace the TIM concept, in that as with building information modeling, the process is owned and driven by the project owner. · Enterprise resource planning systems have emerged separately for agency central busi- ness functions (finance, human resources, etc.) and project design and construction functions. · Mechanisms or technology have not yet been adopted for storing/archiving data within the project model for future or successive iterations of the project life cycle. · The concept of "smart jobsites" is emerging with wireless hardware, networks, and dig- ital exchange of data occurring on transportation agency construction projects. Advanced processes discovered in the DOT planning functional area are: · Use of global positioning system (GPS) technology in the creation of a digital terrain model. · Use of the digital terrain model as the basis for the design function's creation of a 3D design model and for sharing with the construction contractor for stakeless machine grading (also utilizing GPS). Advanced processes discovered in the DOT design functional area are: · Production of a 3D design model for sharing with the successive DOT functional areas and other project stakeholders (both internal and external). · Standardization of 3D design model production; that is, specifications that create stan- dard computer-assisted drafting layers composed of specific object groups.
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3 · Selection of software applications that allow interoperability with diverse model datasets. · Creation within the design functional area of a culture that is dedicated to the transfor- mation of existing business processes toward the TIM concept. Advanced processes discovered in the DOT procurement functional area are: · Synchronization of design changes between digital and non-digital drawings. · Synchronization of digital design drawings with all contract documents. · Statutory allowance of design professional's drawing approval stamp in electronic format. · Creation of all contract documents from the TIM. · Capability to perform electronic bid lettings. · Synchronization of all bidding and award data with TIM datasets. Advanced processes discovered in the DOT construction functional area are: · Sharing of 3D design model datasets with the construction contractor for layout and stakeless (GPS) machine grading. · Creation of specifications addressing the contractor's use of TIM model datasets (as-built datasets that the contractor is required to contribute to the model and legal aspects of the datasets themselves; that is, precedence of electronic data versus 2D paper data, etc.). · Creation by the agency of wireless networked jobsite communications (smart jobsite), where the DOT agents/representatives and other contract stakeholders have access and contribution in real time to TIM data. An advanced process discovered in the DOT operations and maintenance functional area is the ability to archive and retrieve all construction project datasets within the TIM. One result produced from the synthesis study is a conceptual model of data creation, stor- age, and retrieval for the transportation project life cycle. An integrated process model (IPM), designed from work processes (actual or anticipated) from all the DOT functional areas, uti- lizes the multidimensional TIM throughout all the construction project's life-cycle stages and is shared by all the DOT functional areas and project stakeholders. The synthesis study also revealed the following barriers to the attainment of the IPM: · Software application interoperability is one of the largest impediments to the TIM concept. · Dataset standardization is required not only for TIM consistency, but also for data exchange to occur at all (software application interoperability). This also influences the ability of agencies to transform business processes (workflow) toward the IPM objective. · There are varying rates of technological adoption and capability across DOTs. · There are varying rates of technological adoption and capability between project stake- holders (owners, prime contractors, subcontractors, suppliers/vendors, utility organiza- tions, and other agencies). · Standard technologies concerning storage of large volumes of data in a TIM are only now emerging. · Standard technologies that define the data being exchanged (metadata) are emerging only now. · Some impediments to the TIM concept, as follows, are not technical: Legal; Lack of quantified, documented return on investment (concept is a priori); Rate of software application development; New requirements of human resource skills, knowledge, and mindset; Lack of functional understanding (of model delivery concept); and Lack of emphasis on process improvement techniques.