National Academies Press: OpenBook
« Previous: Front Matter
Page 1
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Subsurface Utility Engineering Information for Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22751.
×
Page 1
Page 2
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Subsurface Utility Engineering Information for Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22751.
×
Page 2

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

This synthesis report identifies ways in which information on subsurface utilities is collected, maintained, and used by airports, their consultants, and the FAA to enhance safety during infrastructure development programs at airports. It compares the current state of technology and effective processes from other industry sectors with what airports do today, allowing airports to consider areas for improvement. Airports are typically served by a network of underground utilities, not all of which are under their direct control. Many airports have unreliable and/or incomplete subsurface util- ity data, and as a result, utilities are often damaged during or in conflict with infrastructure development. Airports and consultants interviewed for this study indicated that the data about subsurface utilities vary greatly in quality, quantity, and access. When airport utilities are dam- aged or conflict with development plans, there are inevitably consequences for project sched- ules and budgets and sometimes significant impacts on safe and efficient airport operations. For example, on January 10, 1996, a routine capital improvement project caused damage to an electrical cable at Newark International Airport, resulting in more than $1 billion of impacts, including hundreds of canceled and re-routed flights, disruption of travel to tens of thousands of people, and complete closure of the airport for more than 24 hours. This accident was the direct result of not knowing where the electrical cable was located. Unfor- tunately, this is not an isolated incident. This study found that some major airports experience almost daily utility damages caused by construction activities. Fortunately, existing technology can identify and reliably map subsurface utilities and reduce the risks associated with utilities damage, although implementation of these pro- cesses has been slow. Some airports have embraced geographic information systems (GIS) to more efficiently store and use their utility data. Utility data are being integrated into not only airport GIS programs but asset management, computerized maintenance management, and other information technology resources. Some airports are beginning to incorporate new technologies such as mobile computers so that field personnel can instantly have access to needed utility information during construction and maintenance activities. With greater access to improved software and hardware, airport GIS personnel report that they would like better and more comprehensive data. This study found that airport staff perceives that utility records are often inaccurate, incomplete, and not accessible to all who need them. In many cases they do not include utilities that are owned by others, such as the FAA, tenants, and local utility providers. Airports typically plan and design projects based on existing records and a small portion of the utility networks that they can see on the surface. It is the project manager’s or project engineer’s responsibility to identify the location of utilities during planning and design. This study found that few airports have standardized policies or procedures for how locating underground utilities is to be carried out by airport staff and/or consultants. This places an increased responsibility on the project manager and often leads to inconsistent results across an organization. Most airports do require their consultants and tenants to provide as-built drawings; how- ever, the quality of the information received is not standard and/or as expected, and sometimes Summary SubSurface utility engineering information management for airportS

2 the information is not received at all. Although most airports have developed computer aided design and drafting (CADD) standards for as-built drawings, few have developed standards for related attributes and metadata or implemented procedures for submitting and storing these data. Contractors are sometimes willing to forego any retainage held back in lieu of delivering the as-builts an airport needs. The desire to complete projects and bring new facilities into use often eclipses the need for information necessary to efficiently operate and maintain them. Studies have consistently shown that having accurate and comprehensive information available early in a project’s life cycle leads to significant project cost savings and reduced risks. The practice of combining professional judgment with imaging, positioning, and map- ping technologies for managing and coordinating the risks of existing underground utilities is called subsurface utility engineering (SUE). University and DOT studies on these technolo- gies and practices document a significant positive return on investment ranging from 462% to 2,200% over traditional methods of researching, locating, surveying, mapping, and using underground utility information. SUE is considered an effective practice by the FHWA, AASHTO, the American Public Works Association (APWA), the Associated General Contractors of American (AGC), the utility damage prevention community, and many other organizations more recently including the FAA. This study found gaps in the use and understanding of SUE by many airport personnel and their consultants. Several airports have begun to use SUE as a part of planning and designing projects. Some have established separate programs or on-call contracts with SUE firms in an attempt to map all of their utilities over time regardless of the requirements of specific proj- ects. Some of these airports have reported satisfaction with their fledgling SUE programs, but would also like to see improvements Others forgo the use of SUE because the costs are higher than using existing records for utility depictions. Many interviewees are unaware of the studies from other industry sectors showing high return on investment. Airports that have funded SUE initiatives have done so using a variety of mechanisms. Some have used airport operating funds to conduct focused SUE projects that deliver CADD and/or GIS data depicting specific utilities or to pay for an on-call contract to make SUE services available on an as-needed basis. Airports have also initiated SUE activities as a part of construction projects or larger capital improvement programs. Many of these construction projects and programs receive funds from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program. This study identified gaps between existing technology and processes for utility risk man- agement in other industries with those in the airport industry. These gaps suggest that further research is needed to: • Increase awareness and training on SUE practices • Integrate utility mapping with geotechnical investigations • Develop SUE prequalification criteria for airports • Standardize scopes of work for utility mapping for airports • Develop SUE cost guidelines for airports • Develop a utility data model for airports • Improve CADD–GIS interoperability • Develop a metadata profile for airports • Integrate utility mapping into the project development process for airports. The study concludes that while the use of SUE on airport projects to obtain and man- age data is growing, SUE is not being used as effectively in other sectors and is not always aligned with existing procedures.

Next: Chapter One - Introduction »
Subsurface Utility Engineering Information for Airports Get This Book
×
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 34: Subsurface Utility Engineering Information for Airports examines ways in which information on subsurface utilities is collected, maintained, and used by airports, their consultants, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to help increase the effectiveness of, and enhance safety during, infrastructure development programs at airports.

The report also compares the current state of technology and effective processes from other industry sectors with what airports do today.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!