Construction of the world’s transportation infrastructure continues to reel from the challenges of declining funding revenues, labor, health, and safety concerns, cleaner methods, uncertainty regarding stimulus bills, and increased urban development. Both project owners and construction firms need a reliable way to maximize project performance, improve financial results, and deliver predictable outcomes.

“The transportation industry will face both exponential growth and a series of challenges over the next few quarters. Digital Construction Works (DCW) is ready to help the industry meet the demands through digital transformation. Our application and technology integration services and solutions have the power to improve transportation infrastructure project performance and outcomes while providing transparency to our clients.” Chuck Hixon, Business Development, Digital Construction Works.

Digital construction information management technologies create a framework of engineering data inputs, construction data normalization/standards, code of accounts, issue resolution, and rapid turnaround of deliverables. Through better transportation industry construction planning, oversight, and control of projects, owners and constructors maximize project performance and squeeze better financial results from shrunken budgets.

For example, by connecting 3D project modeling with the time element contained in 4D, firms receive insights into a project’s workflow planning and buildability. They can communicate with stakeholders regarding sequencing, site issues, and all other aspects of the project plan. This information will later enable field mobility progress tracking, which is critical to project success.

Transportation Information Management

Connecting the design to the construction phase and including communication of project data between owners and contractors and from the field to the office continues to be a significant challenge to successful transportation infrastructure projects. These issues can result in project delays, penalties, legal actions, impact safety, create rework and negatively affect already meager profit margins. Digital adoption and digital transformation for the transportation industry require the right combination or orchestration of people, processes, and technology. It consists of using fit-for-purpose planning, design, engineering and construction technology, digital models and infrastructure digital twins, updated processes and digital workflows, and socialization and adoption amongst people in the office and the field. It enables project transparency, allowing owners, stakeholders, and project management to monitor contractor performance against project metrics and helps firms avoid oversights and outright mistakes resulting in costly rework and other delays.

As many major transportation construction firms are discovering, the growth in the requirement of digital information management or what some recognize as BIM for Infrastructure capabilities by owners presents new opportunities and intrinsic technical integration of data management to the project lifecycle. Adopting digital technology, digital practices, and digital mindset helps facilitate a clearer understanding of project intent, design, resources, and status, contributing to better project understanding and visibility, project performance, and project outcomes. Transportation agencies also want to leverage the Digital Model or a Digital Twin and its’ associated data into the operations and maintenance phase of the project lifecycle and manage the asset throughout its lifecycle. 

There are many DCW digital integration services and solutions to help the transportation industry adopt and transform the planning, design, engineering, construction, operations, and management of transportation infrastructure projects.

Digital Transformation Delivers Results

Norway’s largest construction project, Nordøyvege, includes a series of tunnels, bridges, and highways, highlighting every aspect of civil engineering that connects the 2,700 residents of five islands in Ålesund Municipality to the mainland. Prime contractor Skanska utilizes the robust construction planning, management, and data-sharing capabilities of DCW’s 4D Mass Haul Earthworks services and solution to streamline the project’s planning and construction. View the case study.

“A great advantage is the ability to gather all your information in one place,” says Grzegorz Gucwa, production manager at Skanska. “…it helped us plan the project starting from an early tender stage…and lets us keep tabs on all daily operations.”

Global Transportation Opportunities

With the declaration of 2021 as the European Year of Rail, the European Union has made a major commitment to rail as a “sustainable, smart and safe means of transport.” In line with the Union’s goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050, the focus on railway utilization along with repair and construction of transportation infrastructure will open opportunities for contractors. As will high-speed rail and smart airport initiatives worldwide.

Signals of renewed support for high-speed rail programs in the United States are coming from the Biden-Harris Administration. During an interview with MSNBC, Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation, stated “I want the U.S. to be leading the world when it comes to access to high speed rail, and I think we have an opportunity to do that, especially with the bipartisan appetite for real investments that we have before us this year.”

Transportation information management through digitized construction processes can significantly improve the design, planning, and construction of these projects and provide construction firms with the tools necessary to optimize the construction process.

In an article dated April 2, 2021, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) reported on the $2.3 trillion Biden-Harris infrastructure investment package entitled the American Jobs Plan. The initiative contains $621 billion in overall spending for the transportation sector and includes:

-$115 billion for modernizing bridges, highways, roads, and main streets.

-$85 billion for existing transit modernization and expansion.

-$80 billion for Amtrak modernization, repair, and improvement.

-$25 billion in airport-related funding, including terminal renovations.

-$17 billion for inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries.

President Biden, speaking at a March 31st press event in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, said the program is a “once in a generation investment in America, unlike anything we’ve ever seen or done since we built the Interstate highway system and the space race decades ago.” AASHTO called it “critical” for federal surface transportation programs to be reauthorized before current funding expires in September.

Getting Started with Digital

Digital’s potential for improving project outcomes and increasing competitiveness is not something that project owners or construction firms can long ignore. Digital applications and technology, digital workflows, and digital practices can be learned and integrated for massive impact, meeting the demands of mounting business and governmental pressures, and meeting the increase of projects due to urbanization. Incremental digital transformation in the transportation industry can be realistically achieved and adopted as an owner, EPC, or constructor best practice.

As with most new initiatives, a staged approach often wins the prize. While some may be reluctant to commit to digitizing their entire process, it is worth considering a pilot project. From collaboration tools that link team members to each other and to a common data source to the use of scheduling software that streamlines the pace of work, there is a variety of digital applications and integrations that can improve project performance without embracing a complete digital transformation all at one time.

How DCW Helps

Digital Construction Works provides integration services and solutions, including custom application integrations, integration of automated workflows, solutions for integrating the use of infrastructure asset digital twins, and other services around a portfolio of fit-for-purpose design, engineering, and construction software and cloud services and through solid relationships with trusted vendors and partners from around the world.

DCW has complete freedom in designing custom solutions for our clients, so you benefit from a truly fit-for-purpose solution instead of being locked-in to any single vendor’s product offerings. We reduce your risks by proving digital solutions by our industry experts in Solutions Integrations and Digital Twin Labs before implementing them in your project.

We have the experience and expertise needed to facilitate successful digital transformations. Our team is comprised of engineering and construction technology experts, and we invite you to meet some of them here.

DCW can help you realize the benefits of digital transformation in a few ways. By working with your existing level of digitization to optimize the systems you already work with, by providing on-site or virtual resident engineers who can help guide you and manage specific elements of the digital transformation needed, or by creating and shepherding a total digital transformation from beginning to end working with the owner and the contractors.