Every Innovation Starts With A Conversation

We respond to FHWA’s report of how states are faring with critical technological adaptations.  

By Gregory Nadeau

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We’ve seen some exciting progress toward digital construction over the last few years, a new report from FHWA indicates. However, it also reveals some areas where room for improvement remains.  

This spring, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released their final report for the sixth round of Every Day Counts (EDC), a program dating back to 2010. I helped launch EDC when I was Deputy Administrator of FHWA. The goal was, and still is, to help accelerate the advancement of proven, tested, but underutilized, innovations throughout the 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico. 

Round 6 of Every Day Counts was aimed at institutionalizing seven critical innovations. These innovative technologies offer the American public the potential of tremendous savings, better safety, and less waste. Of particular importance to us are e-Ticketing and Digital As-Builts, and this report gives us a great sense of where states stand with respect to adoption. 


On the bright side, we’re seeing the rapid expansion of e-Ticketing, which is quickly being adopted and replacing archaic paper-based materials handling tickets. The technology offers significant efficiency benefits.  

The e-Ticketing initiative was selected by 43 state DOTs for implementation at some level – a record number of states for EDC. A number of state DOTs, including Delaware, Ohio, Georgia, Kansas, Iowa, Alabama, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, have launched e-Ticketing for asphalt materials (if I missed any, please send us a note). 

InfraTalk America has focused significantly on e-Ticketing and Digital As-Builts as part of our ongoing Digital Project Delivery (DPD) focus. The benefits and obstacles to implementation are detailed in two videos we produced for the National e-Ticketing Task Force: e-Ticketing – Digitizing the Supply Chain (8 minutes) and e-Ticketing– The Gateway to Next Generation e-Construction (5 minutes). Our mission includes showcasing the work state DOTs are doing to digitize an antiquated paper-based system. The process is happening at a record pace for the infrastructure sector. 

Digital As-Builts 

A second focus technology under EDC-6 — Digital As-Builts — has not seen the same rapid adoption by state DOTs. However, in 2012, FHWA rolled out the 3D Modeling initiative. The rollout initiated eight years of partnership with state DOTs. The agency’s goal was to help state transportation agencies establish the needed building blocks to advance BIM (Building Information Management) for Infrastructure. BIM is a term that carried over from the vertical construction industry, which has employed technology in construction for years. 

About half of the state DOTs have consistently participated in the 3D Modeling and e-Construction initiatives offered through EDC since 2012. There are a number of states that have instituted programs, like the CalTrans Asset Lifecycle Management System project (CALMS), PennDOT’s Digital Delivery Directive 2025 and Utah DOT’s Digital Twin Strategic Plan, to name a few. 

Policy makers at the state and local level should have a clear understanding of where their DOTs are in advancing digital project delivery strategies. Furthermore, they should support those efforts with resources and breaking down bureaucratic barriers. The payback will be significant. DPD, when broadly deployed and integrated, will result in significant cost savings as well as faster and more streamlined project delivery. There are also numerous safety, sustainability and asset lifecycle management benefits that will be realized when we fully deploy DPD technology throughout the Federal Aid Highway Program. 

The complexities of advancing BIM for Infrastructure are articulated by FHWA in their BIM for Infrastructure Roadmap, which was published in July 2022. The report details the challenges in expanding the use of a more integrated technology-based approach to project delivery. Moreover, they estimate it would take ten years to achieve state of practice throughout the Federal Aid Highway program (a program that on average provides about half of state capital investment in the nation’s roads and bridges). 


Gregory Nadeau is the founder of Infrastructure Ventures and publisher of InfraTalk America. He served as FWHA Administrator under the Obama Administration.