National Academies Press: OpenBook

Emerging Technologies for Construction Delivery (2019)

Chapter: Chapter 5 - Conclusions

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Page 70
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Emerging Technologies for Construction Delivery. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25540.
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Page 70
Page 71
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Emerging Technologies for Construction Delivery. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25540.
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Page 71
Page 72
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Emerging Technologies for Construction Delivery. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25540.
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Page 72

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70 The objective of this synthesis was to document the current state-of-practice in the use of emerging technologies by state DOTs for delivery of highway construction projects. Key findings from the literature review, state DOT survey, and case examples are presented in this chapter. Then, with a focus on the knowledge gaps and barriers noted in the key findings, future research ideas are presented. Observed Findings Many state DOTs reported current and continued use of visualization and modeling, inter- connected technologies, safety technologies, instrumentation and sensors, and USAs for con- struction delivery. The sections below report the key findings and current practices as found in the literature review, as reported by state DOTs in the survey, and from case examples, in no particular order. Key Findings 1. Allowing contractors to use technologies is encouraged as long as the technology has the state DOT’s approval and does not add costs to a project. 2. An effective construction technology is one that can solve a current problem or inefficiency, rather than a technology looking for a problem to solve. 3. For a technology to gain momentum toward implementation, an internal champion is necessary to promote its use and educate DOT staff. 4. Collaborating with other state DOTs provides an avenue to share information and knowl- edge for implementing technologies for construction. 5. The use of technologies provides a means to optimize resources for completing design and construction tasks. 6. Using a combination of technologies (e.g., site mapping from a UAS is used to develop a 3-D model, which is used for AMG) for construction is essential for improved efficiency. 7. Contractors generally are more sophisticated in the use of technologies for construction than state DOTs. DOTs rely on their contractors to help them gain the knowledge needed to explore and implement the technology. 8. Processes to investigate, test, and implement a technology for construction vary between DOTs, from an ad hoc approach to a formal systematic process. 9. Guidance and training in the education and use of technologies for construction are limited as some states have formal training programs and guidebooks while the majority do not. 10. Federal and state regulations dictate and sometimes limit a state DOT in its use of UASs. However, contractors are using UASs for construction tasks such as construction surveys and documentation. C H A P T E R 5 Conclusions

Conclusions 71 11. Challenges exist with incompatibilities in hardware and software between the state DOT and the contractor, which makes technology use cumbersome and less efficient. 12. It is essential for state DOTs to have the skills and knowledge to use a technology to its fullest potential. 13. DOTs create and distribute 3-D models of projects to contractors for their discretion- ary use as only a few projects have used 3-D models as contract documents due to legal concerns. Current Practices 1. Visualization and modeling technologies are used to conduct constructability reviews, document as-built conditions, perform QA/QC, and simulate bridge and nonbridge construction. 2. The 3-D models are increasingly used in highway construction projects, but 4-D and 5-D models are currently limited in use to case demonstrations and pilot projects. 3. DOTs often develop and provide 3-D models to contractors for discretionary use, but 3-D models are not currently a part of the contract design documents. 4. Interconnected technologies are implemented in machine control systems for earthwork and paving equipment and to track vehicle and equipment locations. 5. For highway construction, contractors generally use interconnected technologies during construction, while the state DOT typically supports its use and conducts the inspection of the work using instrumentation devices. 6. Safety technologies for construction are used for work zone traffic management, to provide real-time information to motorists, and accident avoidance. 7. Instrumentation and sensors technologies are used to monitor the progress of work, perform QA/QC, and perform construction inspections. 8. Unmanned aircraft systems primarily are used for monitoring progress of work, site mapping and surveying, and construction documentation. 9. Many DOTs demonstrate maturity in their use of visualization and modeling and with instrumentation and sensors technologies. However, state DOTs are less mature and report limited use of interconnected technologies beyond machine control systems. 10. Using technologies produces large amounts of data. DOTs acknowledge the need to deter- mine how to use the data better and what data are public information. Future Research The gaps in knowledge and practice identified in this study serve as a point of departure to explore the potential for future research. This synthesis report and future research studies help guide transportation agencies in using innovative and advanced technologies for deliver- ing highway projects more efficiently and effectively. As such, future research is suggested in the following areas: 1. For highway construction, many times the contractor applies and uses the technology directly, while the DOT provides the specifications for the use of a technology. There is a knowledge gap between the contractors’ and state DOTs’ perspectives on using tech- nologies. There is a research need to explore the benefits, cost, and risk associated with each main technology (e.g., 4-D and 5-D, UASs, and safety technologies) for highway construction. 2. Skill sets and knowledge play a critical role in effective and efficient use of technologies for highway construction. It is important for state DOTs to include both the core technical and

72 Emerging Technologies for Construction Delivery management skills as well as information technology skills and knowledge. This potential future study focuses on investigating the skills and knowledge needed to use technologies successfully for digital project delivery. 3. The procedure or process to use a new technology for highway construction projects varies widely nationwide. There is a lack of guidance on using technology for construction delivery. Investigating the processes to initiate, investigate, test, and implement statewide construction technologies provides a means to develop a formal framework or guidelines for state DOTs to use.

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The uses and levels of maturity of five advanced technology areas visualization and modeling, interconnected technologies, safety technologies, instrumentation and sensors, and unmanned aircraft systems in transportation highway construction projects are documented in TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 534: Emerging Technologies for Construction Delivery. The synthesis also investigates the implementation barriers and success factors for these technology areas and discusses the lessons learned as noted by state DOTs in their effort to study, test, and implement a new construction technology.

As the highway construction industry infuses more technologies into the process of project delivery, state DOTs have an opportunity to realize improved project performance regarding cost, schedule, and quality.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Every Day Counts (EDC) initiatives promote the use of various advanced and emerging technologies (e.g., automated machine guidance, unmanned aircraft systems, building information modeling, handheld instruments and devices, and work zone intrusion detection systems).

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