Information technology will play a bigger role in state and local government agencies as they manage new infrastructure projects and funding according to Cyndee Hoagland, senior vice president for Trimble’s Public Sector and Enterprise Accounts.
The volume of projects we’ll see will become even more massive, which means the data that’s going to have to be managed will be even more massive
Two laws are driving the changes: the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which the White House calls “the largest ever investments in broadband, rail and transit, clean energy, and water,” and the American Rescue Plan Act, which “provided over $350 billion in critical resources to every state, county, city, and unit of local government.
Under BIL, more than $110 billion in funding for 4,300 projects affecting 3,200 communities nationwide has been allocated. The White House published a technical assistance guide May 18 “to help state, local, tribal and territorial navigate, access and deploy infrastructure resources.”
Technologies to digitize construction efforts include digital workflows; common data environments (CDEs), in which teams can work off the same set of data; and building information modeling (BIM), “a collaborative work method for structuring, managing, and using data and information about transportation assets throughout their lifecycle.”
DOT and the Federal Highway Administration are working to help state and local agencies with their digital efforts including FHA’s Every Day Counts (EDC), a state-based model that identifies and deploys proven but underused innovations. And the DOT published “Advancing BIM for Infrastructure,” a road map for state and local departments of transportation.
The benefits of digital project delivery are integrated workflows that enable the information to flow from various stakeholders to designers to engineering firms to contractors to the operators, because it means the data has to be shared more openly.
A study released in February by Dodge Data and Analytics and Trimble found that 66% of those who use digital workflows in construction said they have better informed decision-making on their projects.
To become more digital state and local transportation departments just need to ask for the data they want because contractors collect it. What’s more, digital deliverables must start to be included in contracting, and IT teams should look to vendors that use industry standards. Digitization also supports the reporting and compliance requirements that typically accompany grants and funding.
Two things need to happen to make reporting easier: the federal government needs to build an easy ingest process for localities providing data, and processes must be designed for the least-resourced users.
Summarized from gcn.com