■ e-TICKETING AND DIGITAL AS-BUILTS
“Putting consistent, clear information at our field personnel’s fingertips is a benefit – Using the data that these systems collect in an intelligent way is what we see as the ultimate goal.
– Billy Sweeney, DelDOT’s Project Controls Coordinator
■ INNOVATOR SEPT/OCT – ISSUE 86
Improving the way valuable information is generated during project delivery and is exchanged and utilized.
Electronic ticketing (e-Ticketing) and digital as-builts (DABs) are two innovations that make it easier for the highway construction industry to switch from paper-based exchanges to a modern, 21st century digital workflow providing information that is “smarter” and more accessible. e-Ticketing improves the tracking, exchange, and archiving of materials tickets. DABs are an accumulation of the data used during digital project delivery that provides a living record of built infrastructure for agencies’ future business needs.
Used individually, these innovations significantly enhance agency capabilities for harnessing data. Together, they increase efficiency and safety during project delivery and can result in multiple benefits when project information is readily accessible for post-construction activities, like asset management.
Both transportation agencies and the private sector spend considerable resources producing, sorting, recording, and archiving paper tickets. Collecting paper tickets from hauling vehicles also exposes construction inspectors and contractor personnel to safety hazards in work zones.
e-Ticketing mitigates the challenges of paper tickets through a safer, faster, less resource intensive, more sustainable and streamlined process using digital technology. e-Ticketing data can be transmitted in real time to a cloud or storage system, making it easily accessible by mobile devices for operational decisions. It creates a single source of truth that can be exchanged, via application program interfaces, directly into State department of transportation (DOT) information management systems for data mining, materials payment, or other purposes.
e-Ticketing also facilitates data integration with complementary technologies, such as intelligent compaction, dielectric profiler systems, and pavement-mounted thermal profilers. This integration offers a unique opportunity to access and critically analyze quality and productivity data that is otherwise difficult to capture until after project completion.
As e-Ticketing use grows, State DOTs are discovering a need for software solutions to aggregate e-tickets from the many sources and vendors used by contractors. A number of potential solutions are available on the market, some through outside software vendors, and others through systems that DOTs developed for internal use.
These secure applications can help build robust audit logs and a trusted chain of custody for tickets by tracking and auditing changes during the ticket lifecycle, building confidence in ticket accuracy for both the State DOT and contractor. In some cases, they even allow contractor systems to interface with the DOT system for ticket verification.
e-Ticketing aggregation systems commonly benefit both DOTs and contractors by streamlining and simplifying materials payments. DOTs no longer have to manually keep up with all paper tickets, they simply filter the ticket database in whatever way the project managers wish then export into a spreadsheet where totals can easily be quantified. Additionally, contractors are now beginning to use data gained from e-Ticketing systems to better manage trends and quantities of materials as projects play out in real time.
Delaware Pilots e-Ticket Integration
The Delaware DOT (DelDOT) is piloting a software system, HaulHub, for integrating e-Tickets for its six hot-mix asphalt suppliers across the State. In DelDOT’s experience, suppliers often have differing systems and formats for their e-Tickets, so finding a solution that would work with all those systems and standardize the information inspectors and field staff see was important to the pilot’s success.
DelDOT’s system collects all e-Tickets from the hot-mix suppliers and assigns them to the correct project, at which point the field personnel get access to the tickets. As the pilot continues, the agency’s goal is to incorporate every hot-mix project in the State into the system.
While there has been some hesitancy moving from paper to e-Tickets, the response has been positive overall. Though the pilot is still ongoing, DelDOT already sees potential for time savings due to the auditability of tickets and other benefits, such as storage and the lessened environmental impact.
“Putting consistent, clear information at our field personnel’s fingertips is a benefit,” said Billy Sweeney, DelDOT’s project controls coordinator. “Another extremely important factor is the increased safety of our people.”
Looking forward, DelDOT’s goal is to integrate e-Ticketing with other e-Construction databases and potentially use the captured metadata from the e-Tickets to help measure paving performance or possibly identify problems for sites using business intelligence software. “Using the data that these systems collect in an intelligent way is what we see as the ultimate goal,” said Sweeney.