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37 CHAPTER NINE CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH The most promising business practices and technology dis- allow the viewer to experience occupation of the soon- covered as a result of the synthesis study are the concepts of to-be constructed facility. For example, with TIM the three-dimensional (3D) design and construction models viewer could place oneself in a virtual car on the proj- applied toward the delivery of transportation construction ect and therefore experience variables such as traffic projects. The case study involving the New York State Depart- control plans, nighttime lighting, the sequences and ment of Transportation (DOT) proves that DOTs can align phases of traffic maintenance operations, and driver their business practice efforts toward the successful creation line-of-sight issues. These processes are also being of 3D models that increase internal efficiencies and assist the termed "virtual design and construction" and there are contractor externally in the layout and grading of the projects. proven case studies of their value in the vertical indus- The review of current literature supports this conclusion with try segments. the reports from the last few years concerning the building Central repository for complete project life-cycle infor- information modeling (BIM)--the successful and proven mation. If TIM is to develop like BIM, the 3D project project delivery system becoming popular in the vertical con- models serve as containment vessels for shared project struction industry. From the Synthesis' small number of case information among the project stakeholders and partic- studies and interviews, we have modified the term to trans- ipants. As with the CD-ROM concept used by FDOT, portation information model (TIM). The TIM concept is pro- the TIM file would be the digital repository of all project duced from the hypothetical creation of our integrated data from all of the functional areas/project life-cycle process model (IPM) and the concept of smart jobsites such stages. Unlike the Florida model, the TIM file itself may as the Florida DOT is utilizing where project data are be stored (temporarily) on a CD-ROM, but its contents accessed wirelessly on the jobsite from a central data reposi- would not be file folder structures, but rather structured tory. The TIM concept would incorporate the following data schemas tied to design objects. advantages/efficiencies when it is a mature proof-of-concept: Reduction of redundant data entry. When all contract par- ticipants can access their digital data electronically and Efficiency gains in initial surveying when geographic through networks, data on paper forms no longer have to information system/global positioning system data are be re-keyed by humans into software applications. developed for 3D digital terrain models (DTMs) using Creation of wireless networked jobsites or smart job- fewer required surveyors and project information sites. Wireless networks enable the remote retrieval of archived in adjacent TIM project models. central repository project data in real time on the jobsite. Constructability reviews can be conducted both internally The corollary is true as well; as-built data that are created and externally with the 3D models that are collabora- on the jobsite can be easily incorporated and stored in tion efforts between the design and planning functional the central repository. Wireless networks on the project areas. When other project stakeholders are allowed to site allow for the use of handheld computers (more contribute data to the model (i.e., vendors and suppliers, ergonomic than laptops in the field), the use of radio consultant designers) and visually observe points of frequency identification (RFID) chips (for materials errors and conflicts, problems can be solved within the management and quality control in situ testing), and web- model before they occur in real physical space. BIM based video cameras (for documentation, validation, and is being used with four-dimensional (4D) computer- schedule confirmation), all of which are coordinated aided design (CAD) and virtual reality to define design through a project network. and constructability problems in the models before DOT software development model is becoming more ground is ever broken. 4D CAD refers to the incorpora- open. Open source software was briefly mentioned tion of construction scheduling software applications earlier in the synthesis. An entire operating system was with the design objects in the 3D model. This combina- developed utilizing the Internet network and volunteer tion allows viewing of the time-scaled construction of programmers. The program (Linux) became mature in the project, useful for identifying improper construction the early 1990s and today powers most of the Internet on sequences and construction crew and equipment spatial servers. The licensing that enables this type of develop- conflicts among other things. Virtual reality software ment is unique and specific, and to date has not created applications are being integrated with the 3D models to software applications for domain-specific applications.

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38 The two primary software development systems for lithic CAD object ultimately must somehow be trans- DOTs are: formed into a more granular and robust form amendable 1. Bentley Systems, Inc., a private corporation that pro- to representing the individual work tasks that comprise duces transportation-specific software applications estimates and detailed schedules. to DOTs for license fees. Should data be stored within a single or a series of con- 2. AASHTO*Ware is a development and licensing nected TIM files? agreement between a majority of the DOTs and Should all project data be stored in the TIM? Contractors AASHTO. Through development committees com- currently allow, and DOTs currently publish, contractor prised of DOT personnel, AASHTO receives guid- bid prices, work progress quantities, and schedule ance from committee members regarding features information. Will they now allow as-built cost data to desired in software applications that they license for be captured by the TIM and, if yes, who should have fee to the agencies. The software development is con- access to that non-public data? It would appear that dig- tracted to a third-party vendor by AASHTO. The ital rights management practices would become a part study revealed that some of the applications are cus- of mature TIM delivery business processes. However, tomizable to differing DOT work business processes. some believe that digital rights management has the Additionally, some licensing agreements provide the potential to reduce efficiency and acts against the shar- application source code to the DOT licensee (for mak- ing and collaboration aspects of the delivery system. ing changes and functional alterations). Who will own the TIM project? Intellectual property The DOTs are increasingly seeking enterprise archi- rights to the model data will have to be defined. tectures from their software applications. Enterprise Digital data interoperability techniques must be embraced resource planning (ERP) systems integrate (or attempt by all project stakeholders. The transportation construc- to integrate) all data and processes of an organization tion segment urgently needs to define its data dictionary into a unified system. A typical ERP system will use (ontological), schema (industrial foundation classes?), multiple components of computer software and hard- and digital transfer (TransXML?) mechanisms. Stan- ware to achieve the integration. A key ingredient of dardization of dataset characteristics and attributes is most ERP systems is the use of a unified database to essential for enabling interoperability. store data for the various system modules. The graphic Standardization may be a less cumbersome effort in user interface of such systems is typically a web transportation compared with the other construction browser. Currently, the ERP systems are split between industry segments because many of the DOTs have the administrative/financial functions and the construc- standardized drawings, specifications, pay items, etc., tion functions of the DOT agencies. An ERP system on AASHTO Green Book standards. integrated with a TIM delivery system might be the Another barrier to the concept of TIM delivery may be ideal scenario. the software application production time required to match software application functionality to changes in The DOT case studies have validated that the 3D modeling DOT business processes. concept is mature enough to deliver today, and that at least TIM project delivery will require agency personnel some agencies are enabling changes in their business processes trained and proficient in design, information technology and functional area mindsets to accommodate this efficient skills, collaboration, and construction administrative technology for transportation construction project delivery. work-flow processes among others. Based on the case studies and the literature review, there Based on the preliminary findings in this synthesis study, is a gap between TIM concepts that are being conducted cur- areas of further and extended research could include: rently and those of the entire IPM. Although further DOT case studies may discover more mature TIM concept devel- For standardization efficiency to occur in TIM project opments, this study's limited view, and that of the BIM liter- delivery, transportation design objects in CAD must ature as well, reveals that the 3D model concept is only being be defined (named) and diagrammed with meaning. fully utilized in the initial stages of the project life cycle. In Points, shapes, and objects in a CAD 3D drawing must our case, the TIM model is developed maturely through the represent real entities in the real world. Unless re- design stage, and from there has limited presence in the pro- definition is to be performed anew with each new proj- curement, construction, and maintenance stages. Therefore, ect model, standard hierarchies and ontologies need the challenges of using TIM through all stages of the project definition for successive model iterations and model life cycle become as follows: combinations. Research regarding the gap between monolithic CAD How will as-built data be added and stored in the objects that designers produce and the granular, work- 3D model? What standardized fields in which database task oriented world that contractors operate. Any trans- and of which file type should the construction as-built portation object diagramming effort that does not data be received and retrieved by the model? The mono- consider an end product expressed in such contractor

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39 terms and subsequent downstream maintenance will not delivery methodology. This might be a starting place gain significant traction and may end up being merely for a global transportation or industrial segment-wide an academic exercise. This gap can be bridged; how- terminology that others can build on in the future, thus ever, considerable research as well as practical trial and not delaying technical and process advancements in error is required. TIM. The work would be broad enough to be funded in There could be development of functional area policies a single research project. and procedures for integration of TIM delivery. This The legal ramifications of TIM delivery must be study could extend the IDEF diagramming methodology explored to find balance between the collaboration and to develop best practice workflows and assign functional sharing of data requirements in TIM delivery and pro- role responsibilities as well as skills and knowledge tection of the intellectual property created by individual requirements to create an outline for job descriptions stakeholders attributed to the model. Areas to explore and policies and procedures manuals. could include: There could be a comparison of DOT organizational Quantifying data sharing/openness versus digital design to match TIM development and delivery pro- rights management; cesses. How does the implementation of TIM delivery Developing a digital communication specification gov- affect the existing organizational structures of trans- erning the use of model data among the stakeholders; portation agencies? Are there redundant processes and Customizing intellectual property licensing practices organizational structure that could be modernized and similar to those being created by the Creative Com- made more efficient? What are the new required train- mons Corporation that address the balance between ing, skills, and knowledge required of DOT information full copyrights and public domain; workers in TIM delivery? Exploring liability issues regarding dependence on Until mature schemas and ontologies become prevalent digital data; and and standard, a series of high-level object definitions Developing existing specification reviews and proto- and attributes may spur the development of the TIM types, if required, incorporating these bulleted features.