FTA Supporting Digital Construction Management

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2023


Last Friday (Oct. 13), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration unveiled a new research initiative to advance digital construction management tools that will improve transit construction projects. 

The Accelerating Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems program will reportedly promote field-tested advanced digital platforms to deliver transit projects faster and cheaper. Approximately $5.1 million in competitive grants will be available through the initiative.

“We’re proud to support construction technology that helps communities build transit projects more quickly,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This new initiative is another way the Biden Administration is helping agencies deliver infrastructure improvements on-time, on-task, and on-budget.”

According to the DOT, the bipartisan infrastructure law has highlighted the need for advanced digital construction management systems to improve how transit agencies deliver capital projects by providing a platform that tracks all phases of construction.

“Our goal is to help agencies deliver projects on time and under budget,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “This grant will help us do just that. These advanced platforms are all about efficiency and provide comprehensive tools that will allow transit agencies to complete projects more seamlessly.”

Eligible grant applicants include transit agencies, private for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, state or local government entities and academic institutions.

A successful applicant will reportedly identify and demonstrate at least two advanced digital construction management systems and work with transit agencies to document best practices for applying the advanced digital construction management tools for transit construction projects. 

Project Delivery Center of Excellence

At the end of July, the DOT also launched the Project Delivery Center of Excellence, meant to help recipients of federal infrastructure funds deliver projects more efficiently and effectively.

According to the DOT's release, the center will serve as a central resource for innovative practices and will bring project managers together to allow for knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer learning.

Among the initial plans for the Project Delivery Center of Excellence are the following:

  • Simplifying the contracting process by providing newer, less experienced grant recipients with an off-the-shelf, high-quality model that they can use to ensure consistency and quality in design and construction contracts;
  • Centralizing project delivery methods, best practices and convening information exchanges;
  • Providing a central repository and disseminate national best practices and case studies in successful, innovative project development, project delivery, and cost containment efforts; and
  • Working in partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers and Association of Consulting Engineering Companies to develop and distribute templates and model language for transportation construction contracts.

Transportation Innovation

At the end of last year, the Federal Highway Administration announced the latest round of transportation innovations through its Every Day Counts Program. Because of the White House’s Action Plan for Accelerating Infrastructure, the DOT has committed to expanding the EDC model to more modes of transportation.

Last year’s innovations were promoted by the FHWA and the FTA, improving project delivery across highway, rail and transit agencies at the state and local level.

Established over a decade ago, the EDC is a state-based program that helps identify and rapidly deploy proven, yet underutilized, innovations that facilitate greater efficiency in project delivery at the state, local and Tribal levels. The goal is to save time, money and other resources to ensure that infrastructure is built better, faster, smarter and more equitably.

Every two years since 2011 the FHWA has worked to identify a new set of innovations to champion that merit accelerated deployment. The first six rounds of EDC have reportedly yielded several innovative project delivery technologies, including prefabricated bridge systems, design-build contracting, project bundling, e-construction (paperless contracting), safety initiatives and more.

According to the FHWA’s release, the program’s success is based largely on FHWA’s close collaboration with states and local partners through a process whereby states select innovations they want to pursue, then establish performance goals for the level of implementation and adoption they want to reach over the upcoming two-year cycle.

Once the selection and performance goals are finalized, they then begin to implement the innovations with the support and assistance of diverse technical deployment teams established for each innovation, including federal, state, and local experts.

EDC Round 8 Innovations included:

  • Nighttime Visibility for Safety;
  • Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management;
  • Integrating Greenhouse Gas Assessment and Reduction Targets in Transportation Planning;
  • Enhancing Performance with Internally Cured Concrete (EPIC);
  • Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for Sustainable Project Delivery; and
  • Strategic Workforce Development.

Accelerated Innovation Demonstration and State Transportation Innovation Council Incentive programs administered by FHWA complement EDC by providing additional funding and resources to help the surface transportation community accelerate the adoption and standardization of innovative technologies in their programs.

   

Tagged categories: Construction; Department of Transportation (DOT); Digital tools; Funding; Government; Grants; Mass transit; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Public Transit; Research and development; Technology; Transportation

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