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5 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION As the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Broad information on the current state of technology quotation states in chapter one, there are currently potential that allows software programs (digital data) to interface estimated savings of billions of dollars that can be realized by together (interoperability) is included. increased efficiency (interoperability) of delivering design As a result of a literature review of approximately 200 and construction to the capital facilities industry. The project documents, basic interoperability problems and solu- delivery systems in the transportation sector are similar in tions are described. structure to the vertical construction sector and typically Broad information on the current state of digital data involve similar (if not more) data collection and software standardization efforts that enable digital data interop- systems, so that potential dollar savings can be significant to erability is reviewed. U.S. public infrastructure costs. The technology is currently As a result of the literature review, there is documentation available for U.S. transportation agencies to begin sharing in of various efforts both within and outside of the trans- these efficiencies resulting from data interoperability. In most, portation sector on how digital data can be created, uti- if not every, agency situation, changes in work-flow processes, lized, and stored regardless of which software program, investments in new technology and human skill sets, and functional area, or project life cycle it passes through. proper strategic planning will be required to realize financial DOT functional area business practices that enable digi- savings. tal data flow and therefore theoretically increased effi- ciency are presented. Most of the agencies studied and/or interviewed were aware of at least some very significant rewards for the "pain" The most impressive (efficient) practices for project design of attempting change in their organizations. Most were very and construction delivery are borrowed from either case practical in their expectations and proud of their accomplish- studies or literature to visualize by means of a diagram of ments (however incremental) on their way to these projected the most efficient model for digital data delivery through all process efficiencies. The agency managers are quite aware of of the transportation construction project life-cycle stages the infrastructure construction demands within their state (integrated process model or IPM). boundaries and the competition for the financial capital to deliver the projects. Human resource skills and knowledge that will be required to achieve the IPM are presented. This synthesis study is designed to assist transportation The technical and management skills that will be agencies in becoming more efficient by reporting its findings required of DOT staff for the possible requirements of re- in the following areas: engineering existing business work-flow practices and maintaining efficient digital data exchange in the ever- Advanced processes of digital information flow through changing software and hardware technology advances department of transportation (DOT) functional areas are reported. are described. Extensions of research beyond the scope of this study Through a national survey of DOT agencies and tele- are mentioned. phone and conference interviews, selected business Finally, the study suggests additional areas of research practices are described and diagrammed by functional revealed by the small "snap-shot" of information pro- areas of the transportation construction project life cycle vided by this synthesis. [planning, design, procurement, construction, and oper- ations and maintenance (O&M)]. Transportation agencies are complex organizations. Al- Digital data-flow "bottlenecks" (gaps) and possible though there are differing types of transportation agencies solutions are identified. (federal, state, municipal, and specifically dedicated), this Selected DOT business functions are diagrammed synthesis report is concerned with state-level agencies that showing the flow of digital data in their respective efforts are state-specific DOTs or turnpike authorities. The report is to deliver transportation projects. Software and hard- aimed at discovering the level of efficiency with which the ware resources are identified. DOTs perform digital transactions. Although this involves

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6 studying software applications and electronic data types, it is Issuing permits for restricted vehicles and carriers; important at the offset to introduce, even to those already Supporting military movement of goods; familiar with the processes and functions of these agencies, Inspections and safety regulations; the scale, depth, and timelines involved with DOT agency Hazardous materials spills clean-up and oversight; information technology (IT) transactions. Administrative services; Financial services; A sample list of essential and typical functions of a state IT services; DOT are as follows (Boyd et al. 2005): Legal; Human resources; Transportation planning and policy; Civil rights; Research; Internal audits; Grants management; Coordinating with local agencies; Transportation data, modeling, and simulation; Coordinating with other state agencies; and Geographic information systems and mapping; Coordinating with the federal government. Engineering; Construction management; In addition to functional complexity, state DOTs are organi- Contracts administration; zationally complex, as shown in a typical organization chart Maintenance; in Figure 1. Inspection and repair; Traffic control; Further complication with data sharing and communica- Incident management; tions may result because the DOTs have established satellite Intelligent transportation systems; offices throughout their state borders to manage construction Enforcing compliance with federal regulations; and maintenance operations. These separate offices create Enforcing compliance with state regulations; gigabytes of information daily that are eventually reported Administering tax, fee, and levy programs and collecting and/or stored at headquarters. funds; Licensing vehicle operators and commercial carriers; Because of the organizational complexities and variations Supporting law enforcement by providing information that exist among state DOTs, the synthesis panel believed on licenses and commercial carriers; it was necessary to limit the focus of this synthesis study. FIGURE 1 Generic DOT organizational chart.

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7 The scope was therefore defined to target only those agency New York State DOT, personal communication, May 31, functions concerned with construction project design and 2007). delivery. Procurement: Development and delivery of contract documents; selection of the prime contractor to build As "owners" (stewards of taxpayer funds) of the state the project; and administration of construction, mainte- infrastructure, DOTs are tasked (typically) with the planning nance, and operations contracts and project manage- and design of construction infrastructure projects. Although ment of the transportation projects. the physical construction services are contractually awarded Construction: Inspection of project materials and to private-industry contractors, the DOTs select the contract methods for compliance with minimum project quality delivery methods (design-bid-build, design-build, etc.), specifications, and jobsite and administrative contract inspect the construction work for quality assurance and qual- administration. ity control (QA/QC), and define the aggregate project con- O&M: Stewardship of the constructed and opened struction durations for the contracts. Once the construction facility. contractors have completed their contractual portion of the work, the DOTs typically assume maintenance and opera- As advanced processes for the seamless sharing of infor- tions responsibility for the facility. mation throughout DOT project delivery are identified, it is also necessary to define project delivery stages, also referred For the purposes of this study, the DOT agency functions to as the project life cycle. The stages or phases are linear in pertaining to construction project design and delivery have process. That is, ideation and feasibility must precede design, been subdivided into five principal areas of functionality. and design must precede construction, etc. Contractual deliv- These functional areas do not represent the organizational ery methods such as design-build procurement can alter the structure of all DOTs, as some have these distinct function- timing of each stage's total completion (segmentation), but alities absorbed into fewer (or additional, more specific) the overall process is linear. Figure 2 displays the stages functional areas. In this report, our subdivisions match the involved in transportation project delivery. project life-cycle stages shown in Figure 2, and represent the following functions: The phase diagram in Figure 2, with the exception of property acquisition, is typical for any construction facility, Planning: The development of project design alterna- horizontal (transportation) or vertical. Best practice con- tives (feasibility) once a need has been identified. Also struction management requires the passing of data from one responsible for initial location and positioning data life-cycle stage to another. If this passing of data and infor- (location surveys) (D. Streett, New York State DOT, mation between the stages is not efficient or accomplished, it personal communication, May 31, 2007). must either be re-created or re-entered into the dataflow. This Design: The selection and detailed refinement of proj- typically occurs as software applications utilized to generate ect alternatives regarding scope and design (D. Streett, project data in one stage do not communicate with applica- tions and programs used in another stage or by other con- tractual stakeholders of the project. Contractual stakeholders are the parties contractually joined to accomplish the project life-cycle stages and typi- cally include an owner, designer, contractor, subcontractors, and vendor/suppliers as displayed in Figure 3. In the case of public-sector transportation projects, data must also be exchanged between federal, municipal, regulatory, and utility organizations. Therefore, the delivery of a transportation construction proj- ect requires a large amount of data communication (sharing) both within each stakeholder's organization (internally), among the stakeholders' organizations (externally), and across the project life-cycle stages. This study isolates some of these processes and procedures within owner DOTs. The effi- ciency with which an organization accomplishes this data sharing might be termed "advanced processes." Consider finally the breadth or scale of the data involved, generated daily by the project stakeholders across the project FIGURE 2 Transportation facility life-cycle stages. life-cycle stages. Some of these internal data are revealed on

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8 FIGURE 3 Contractual stakeholders and communication lines. the work-flow process diagrams. These data must be shared Some definitions are required for comprehension of the and/or archived properly and timely for efficient project following chapters specific to functional areas and our con- delivery. The ability to quickly recall specific data from the clusions. A brief introductory explanation on data file formats mass of data and information generated and stored during of software applications (computer programs) is appropriate the life-cycle stages, without duplicating data entry, provides before discussing data interoperability. There are three main the basis of managerial decisions that can shorten the stages types of computer programs: of the project life cycle (lessening inconvenience to the trav- eling public) and enhance economic development. 1. Operating systems: these programs function at the lowest level (or machine level) and interpret inputs This study, through literature review, survey questionnaire, (keyboard, mouse usage, etc.) and outputs (to periph- and DOT case study, identifies the following in relation to erals such as printers and monitors) between the user transportation project design and construction: and the computer hardware itself. 2. Interpreters and compilers: these programs convert Identification and reporting of agencies that have insti- high-level computer languages into machine language tuted creative and efficient methods of productivity in the that the operating system can interpret. Computer pro- production of their functional area deliverables (advanced grams such as a video games, web browsers, spread- processes). sheets, etc., are written in high-level "code" languages Identification of barriers and challenges involved in the such as C, C++, BASIC, FORTRAN, Lisp, etc. Com- attempts to efficiently process transportation design and pilers read the program language (software code) and construction data throughout the project life-cycle stages convert it to a binary format or language (utilizing (and therefore the five defined functional areas). This switches of 0s and 1s). involves business/work processes, software application 3. Applications programs (or software applications): these interoperability, and strains on agency resources. are the computer programs that most of us are familiar IPM, which is an idealized process map of the most effi- with; they include all computer programs that are not cient work processes, interoperable software applications, operating systems or compilers. hardware, and agency resources for the delivery of trans- portation construction processes. Its basis is the literature It is important to point out that software languages, once review and the amalgamation of the advanced processes learned, can be interpreted by anyone who knows the discovered in the various functional areas. language (in the same manner of our human written lan- Recommendations for further research to extend this area guages). Therefore, if one knows the C++ language and hap- of study. pens to view a program's written language (also known as

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9 "source code"), one would be able to decipher exactly how retrieval of the user's data are dependent on access to the program is designed to work and function. The user could the proprietor's software application. Not only are there even change or alter the source code to make the program monetary licensing issues involved, but the user risks perform additional or different functions (features). However, separation from the data if the vendor goes out of busi- once the source code is compiled into binary format, the archi- ness, ceases to upgrade the software application when tecture of how the program is designed with the program newer operating systems become necessary, etc. The language becomes hidden. That is to say, it is impossible to end-user could be locked out of access to the data if learn how a software application is designed or how it func- stored in and dependent on a proprietary software pro- tions by observing compiled binary code. gram's binary file format. These concepts are important to interoperability in the fol- Therefore, we have provided the following definitions lowing way: If end-users of computer programs could observe here and in the glossary that appears at the end of this report. the source code, then they would have the ability to alter the programs to create customized features and uses and/or more File format--a specific method of compiling information importantly to interact with other programs more easily (i.e., to in a software application file. make two or more programs interoperable with each other). Open file format--a published specification for storing digital data, usually maintained by a non-proprietary There are groups of programmers and users who believe it standards organization, and free of legal restrictions is unethical for computer software to be sold, licensed, or dis- on use. For example, an open format must be imple- tributed in binary format. Instead they distribute software in the mentable by both proprietary and free/open source source code format and allow the end-user to compile the pro- software, using the typical licenses used by each. In grams themselves. This allows the end-user to manipulate the contrast to open formats, proprietary formats are con- program's source code to cause the compiled program to serve trolled and defined by private interests. Open formats their specific needs and requirements. These two main groups are a subset of open standards. The primary goal of are referred to as the Free Software and Open Source Software open formats is to guarantee long-term access to data movements. Their differences lie in how they value restrictive without current or future uncertainty with regard to software licensing, copyright and patent laws (related to soft- legal rights or technical specification. A common sec- ware production), and software development methodologies. ondary goal of open formats is to enable competition, instead of allowing a vendor's control over a propri- Proprietary software developers typically distribute their etary format to inhibit use of competing products. Gov- software applications in binary format for competitive advan- ernments have increasingly shown an interest in open tage. The programs are licensed to the end-user, typically format issues (Wikipedia 2007). per number of users and possibly for limited periods of time. Open source software--a high-level software source code Any changes in a program's functionality must originate from of software applications that is distributed before com- the proprietor's programmers (source code). This situation pilation into binary form. causes the end-user to be dependent on the software vendor Proprietary file format--a program file compiled in a in several ways, as follows: method specific to a proprietary software developer. Standard file format--an open file format that has been If the end-user wants to customize a software applica- specified by a standards organization to which free, tion to match unique business processes, the end-user open source, and proprietary software developers vol- will be dependent on the vendor's development schedule, untarily adhere to. the vendor's willingness to make the changes, and the cost of development and licensing. These definitions are useful for interpreting some of the If the end-user stores data in the proprietor's software tables in succeeding chapters and in the discussion in chapter application format, then long-term storage, access, and eight.