Every Innovation Starts With A Conversation

In the latest “InfraTalk on the Road” podcast episode, three industry trailblazers discuss the latest developments that are promising to accelerate the pace of change. 

Connected construction is at an exciting crossroads. 

In the fall, FHWA released its first round of Advanced Digital Construction Management (ADCMS) Grants. The grants are aimed at accelerating the shift from paper-based planning and construction to digital. 

These are the kind of developments that excite some of the leading changemakers in the field. InfraTalk America Publisher Gregory Nadeau, a former FHWA Administrator, caught up with two key figures at the global tech firm Trimble at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in November. 

Trimble has long been a leader in helping lead the shift to digital construction management. And Patrick Holtz, Trimble’s Senior Manager for Proposals and Grants, and Doug Reichard, Trimble’s Director of Strategy for State and Federal Government, are featured guests on the newest episode of “InfraTalk on the Road.”  

Both Trimble and Nadeau were instrumental in building consensus around introducing ADCMS grants, which are designed to help states operationalize this game-changing technology.  

“I’ve worked in public policy and federal programs for more than 20 years, and I can’t think of a more satisfying outcome than the first round of ADCMS,” Holtz said. 

The first round of grants, released this fall, totaled $34 million. Nadeau noted that the demand for funding is high. FHWA received $100 million in grant requests. 

“What it demonstrated was a real interest, a real demand, for resources to help advance these technologies,” said Nadeau. 

The next round of grant awards will total $17 million — making them even more competitive.  But Holtz says he believes many of the applicants that weren’t successful in the first round will succeed if they continue chasing the funds.  

Another important development in the connected construction world is the introduction of “Open Standards.” From planning to maintenance, these standards will help formalize data interoperability on projects. There is a need for all the players in the technology and infrastructure space to agree to coalesce around a common set of practices and codes for their data.  

Reichard said the industry seems to be coalescing around international standard IFC 4.3, which promises to speed up the pace of innovation and help remove a major obstacle to digitization. 

“It’s been accepted by AASHTO as the standard,” said Reichard. “DOTs are being advised by Federal Highway and AASHTO that it’s the future.” 

Check out the whole discussion here. And if you like it, be sure to leave a five-star review.