Every Innovation Starts With A Conversation

HaulHub’s new EDOT platform puts newly digitized data to work creating smarter/safer work zones and more climate friendly projects.  

By Angie Schmitt 

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In November 2023, infrastructure construction’s digital revolution took a small but exciting leap forward in Delaware.  

Using an expanded integration from its e-Construction platform, Delaware DOT was able to broadcast real-time information about when construction equipment was operating in its work zones to consumer-facing navigation apps like Waze. 

“That’s one way it can increase the safety of workers in a work zone,” said Craig Blowers, DelDOT’s Construction Resource Engineer. “From that same piece of information … we hope to be able to harness more things.” 

It’s just the beginning of what is possible in digital construction now that most state DOTs have built the foundation with e-Ticketing, Blowers and his private sector partners say. 

Yesterday, DelDOT’s e-Construction partner, HaulHub Technologies, announced they are expanding their offerings to help DOTs make the most of the reams of data that are now — finally, thanks to e-Ticketing — organized into digital databases. 

HaulHub calls the new platform EDOT. The software takes advantage of AASHTOWare’s new Open API, which allows software producers to seamlessly integrate with the AASHTOWare ecosystem, which is the standard across the industry. 

“There’s these deep integrations that are just happening,” said Matthew Valle, HaulHub’s Vice President for Industry Relations and Government Affairs. “We bridge that gap and bring folks on common platforms.” 

Work zone safety is one of the areas that is ripe for disruption in this new era of digital construction. The equipment manufacturers — Caterpillar, John Deere — have tracked the operating status and location of their machines in real time. But it wasn’t until DelDOT and HaulHub sat down for one of their weekly meetings, that the idea to capture that information for safety purposes was born. 

DelDOT has been using HaulHub software for e-Ticketing since 2022. The agency recently had a work zone intrusion and is looking for ways to improve safety. 

“They said, ‘What can you do to help us with the elimination of work zone incidents and fatalities?’” said Valle.  

But agencies are only beginning to imagine the ways it will disrupt and streamline the field.  

“What other information can we capture?” said Blowers. “Can we capture other quality control information: The temperature of the roller? The rate of compaction?” 

“It all starts to kind of tie together and starts to develop what you might call a smart work zone.” 

Another exciting front for digital construction is environmental. 

EDOT is going to be helpful for states, like Oregon and Colorado, that have new statutory requirements to measure the carbon impacts of their projects, said Valle. Within the IIJA and Inflation Reduction Act are provisions that incentivize materials producers to lower their emissions. 

But tracking the materials inputs with quantities and various specifications would be extraordinarily labor intensive in a paper-based record system. 

“We had boxes and boxes and boxes of tickets,” said Blowers. “We had lots of information in those but it’s just so much that how do you process it? We didn’t have an effective way of grabbing it before.”  

The EDOT platform, meanwhile, synthesizes materials data automatically. Already, e-Ticketing has reduced the workloads for DelDOT inspectors and helped speed payments to contractors. 

“In Oregon, specifically, they have to report the progress they’re making toward net zero,” Valle said. “This ecosystem helps them get into that mindset and direction.” 

“So, you know what the CO2 impact of that project is in real time.” 

Blowers says DelDOT has not yet finalized its concepts for additional EDOT pilot projects, like November’s trial run with real-time work zone data. But he can imagine the resource providing all kinds of tangible benefits.  

For example, if a particular road project doesn’t hold up very well to wear and tear, the agency can use the data from its e-Tickets to troubleshoot the problem and avoid future disappointments.  

“We could check what mix was placed,” said Blowers. “We could say that job mix is no longer going to be used on our roads because it’s not performing the way we hoped.” 

Longer term, the possibilities get even more exciting. For example, said Valle, once construction data is geolocated, automated machine guidance could help make work zones partially or even fully automated.  

“To get there, all these foundational components need to get made,” said Valle. “You know the elevations of what the pavers should be placing for the final surface course. You also have an understanding of where other physical elements on the job site are in the digitally georeferenced world.” 

“We’re setting some of these pieces up to help enable the connected construction site of the future.”