Driving a world where mobility, interconnectedness and far-reaching opportunities are the ultimate destination, Departments of Transportation (DOT) are continuously challenged with providing the safest, most efficient and modernized “roads home” from every avenue.
While travelers only see orange barrels and road signs, the DOT team designs and maintains a complex process of procurement, development and maintenance that ebbs and flows between administration offices, contractors, inspectors, and more. Bridging the informational gap between all parties on any given DOT project requires a safeguarded, streamlined process that transcends geographical distances to get the job done. Disparate systems and siloed document repositories are not just bumps in the road – when critical data, like pioneering as-builts, slip through the cracks, bridges collapse, transit systems derail, and roads to opportunity crumble.
What does a completely streamlined and synchronized DOT process look like from start to finish?
Picture this: it’s Monday morning at the DOT’s administrative branch. Opening their workflow queue, the staff is greeted with several notices of roads, highways, bridges and potholes that are all in need of repair or maintenance. With a swift click, each project is allocated to an inspector, who starts his/her first assignment with only a tablet, or other mobile device, in hand.
How does the project unfold from there? Journey through the mapped-out overview below.
Once at the scene, the inspector pulls out the tablet and opens an electronic workflow, powered by OnBase, which is integrated with Esri GIS and process applications such as IBM Maximo, Bentley ProjectWise, Azteca Cityworks, Accela Automation and others. Pulling up the map and clicking the current location populates all the current work order template information on an OnBase Unity form as well as the location’s work history, and automatically fills in necessary work-order details.
As the Unity form highlights details still needing verification, the inspector uses the tablet to capture pictures and other data, which are automatically read and filled in on the order. Once the initial inspection is complete, the inspector simply clicks a button to send the data into an automated workflow queue where all parties involved in the next step, design, are notified with the details. Integrations push the data into the agency applications.
Back at the admin branch, the same enterprise system is keeping each project’s process under control. Funding reports and grants, various contract negotiations and even the DOT’s human resources process are unified and managed within OnBase as projects unfold.
Using Electronic Plan Review by Hyland seamlessly and securely connects large design teams, even with members dotted all over the map. Taking the first pass, DOT engineers, contractors and other workers make edits and notes right on the digital CAD drawings, without requiring separate CAD software, before clicking a button to electronically share their feedback with the appropriate parties via a streamlined portal. Anytime a new version is submitted into the workflow queue, automatic notifications prompt the receiving party to take a look at the highlighted changes within the previous versions.
Centralizing development within one secure, content repository supports bi-directional data exchange for easy comparisons of each design layer, eliminates duplicate ideas and processes, and mobilizes data for easy access from any location.
A worthy titleholder for one of the vastest procurement processes, DOT contract management is critical to progressing public projects.
OnBase’s paperless purchasing and contract management keeps highway developers, pavers, equipment lenders and all other vendors updated and on the same page throughout the project’s development. Serving as the centralized hub for content management and applying a rules-configured workflow brings transparency and accountability to every site inspection, enforces the terms and conditions of contracts with each vendor, and verifies inspections and acceptance of processes from all parties before each closeout.
Reporting dashboards provide a visual way to see the key business information before HUD knocks on the door. Whether it’s the missing documents, backlog volume, individual productivity scores, average processing times, bottlenecks or other important metrics, supervisors have the answer before HUD can raise the question.
As this robust approval process works hand-in-hand with reporting dashboards, a transparent window opens to the status and journey of case files to ensure no application falls through the cracks.
It’s been a long time coming, but you’re finally here – development!
The day has finally come to start drilling into a site when, suddenly, the construction worker stops – he’s just been met with 30 feet of unforeseen bedrock. After an appropriately drawn-out sigh, you turn back to your digitalized drawing board – literally. Despite being at another site, you’re able to pull your tablet from your back pocket and make an update in the project’s workflow. The notification immediately pings contractors, architects, engineers, inspectors and all other relevant parties about the roadblock.
Equipped to quickly populate the as-builts and other site data, the entire team collaborates, pivots and proceeds in a new direction with minimal effects on the project’s timeline. Onward!
Inspection and Maintenance
Once the last road has been paved and the dust is settled, all there’s left to do is continuously inspect and maintain. As a regional undertaking, a different asset management software is used in this step, as opposed to the software applied throughout the beginning of the project. Thankfully, OnBase can also track assets with its case management and audit trail capabilities. The true concern of inspection and maintenance, however, is securely sharing the documentation of a project’s lifecycle between the stages of development and asset management.
Think about this: it’s been a few years since the project above was completed. One day, a citizen goes to your DOT’s website and reports an issue (pothole, bridge maintenance, etc.) using the online Unity form. While en route to another project, the inspector is notified and decides to reprioritize his day to handle this more urgent situation. Once at the scene, the inspector can pull up manuals, drawings and prior work orders directly from OnBase or through the integration with the GIS system. The inspector creates a new work order that follows the Unity form’s rules-based instruction about what pictures and other information needs to be captured and submitted to the workflow. Seamlessly integrated with Esri GIS and public works software, including Accela Automation and Azteca Cityworks, he populates the project’s work history and makes an informed analysis about how to move forward.
THE FAST TRACK FOR PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES
And bridges, bicycles, waterways and other means of transportation, but you get the idea.
With so many people contributing to and upholding DOT initiatives, accessibility and mobility need to be paved into each planning process. When the entire team can see and reach projects in their real-time standings, priorities fall into order, response times are faster, and there is more flexibility to pivot when unforeseen circumstances, whether it be crater-sized potholes or 30ft of bedrock, swerve into your lane.
Is your department ready to start on the road to digital transformation? If so, let’s chat.