Delivering Transportation Projects In A Digital World

Traditional civil engineering practice methods are primarily focused on publishing construction documents to support project delivery. However, even with the internal design processes in most engineering organizations having been fully digital for at least the last 10 years, most of the time and energy spent in engineering is consumed by the preparation of analog, traditional format documents to communicate the plans, specifications, and estimates instead of the designs themselves. The recent MAP-21 transportation funding law, passed in 2012, contained a game-changer for these legacy practices. It mandates the gradual introduction of advanced digital modeling in the delivery of all federally-funded transportation projects from planning, through design, and all the way to construction, and provides for additional federal funding for those projects that implement these innovations and program efficiencies. The business case behind the language in this Federal law was discussed in a 2004 National Institute of Standards and Technology report, estimating that 40-60% of all engineering effort is consumed producing non-interoperable analog information. Many organizations and vendors have responded to this initiative by promoting several types of technologies, represented by an array of acronyms such as BIM, CIM, FIM, BrIM, VDC, IPD, 4D, 5D, AMG, etc. However, these technologies will prove to be ineffective if civil engineering practice methods aren't updated from an analog worldview to a digital worldview. The peak of optimistic expectations will fall into a trough of disappointment as the technologies by themselves fail to deliver any return on the investment. This presentation will address how civil engineering practice methods need to evolve to work effectively in this digital world, using both existing and emerging technologies to carry digital design information across the design/construction interface. These practices are already being implemented across the country on innovative design-build transportation projects on which engineers and contractors work for the same team, where they have significant financial incentives for innovations that save time and money and improve quality.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: pp 711-718
  • Monograph Title: T&DI Congress 2014: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01528822
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784413586
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Jun 2 2014 3:01PM