Every Innovation Starts With A Conversation

In an AASHTOWare webinar, leaders from four states explained how the massive transition is going and offered advice.  

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No U.S. state has reached the point where they’re delivering all their projects in a fully digital environment. But, by now, almost every one is on its own journey toward that long term goal.  

In a webinar hosted by AASHTOWare last week, representatives from four states explained the challenges they’re facing and how they expect to benefit.   

Christine Langley from Alaska DOT says the agency anticipates digital delivery will reduce the need to fly to distant job sites — a major source of cost and delay for agency staff operating in a large, sparsely populated state. 

Amy Sullivan from the Minnesota DOT said she expects digitalization to improve transparency, make it easier to collaborate with stakeholders, and save “significant” time and money.  

Matthew Miller from Iowa DOT said it will make maintenance more seamless.  

But all the state leaders said they had encountered some obstacles or resistance that they are working through.   

Langley said Alaska DOT is also using outside contractors to help them develop processes and procedures. In addition, she said her agency is beefing up training for employees. However, they also need encouragement. 

“Change is hard on organizations and staff always,” she said. “Help staff understand it benefits them. It will come back to reduce your workload over time.” 

Miller said there are “champions” that can be identified in almost any group.  

“You’ve got to find a willing contractor who’s not afraid of technology,” he said. “You’re not just dropping this on them, you’re going to work through the problems.” 

Finally, Sullivan said don’t be overwhelmed by the scope of the challenge.  

“Start somewhere,” she told attendees. “Build a group of people you can reach out to. If you’re struggling, probably someone has struggled through that already.”