February 21, 2014
Innovation of the Month: Three-Dimensional Modeling
As the benefits are more widely recognized, highway agencies and other transportation stakeholders are making the transition to using three-dimensional engineered modeling. The technology, part of the Every Day Counts initiative to deploy innovation, allows for faster, more accurate and more efficient project planning and construction.
The California Department of Transportation conducted a survey of state highway agency practices with 3-D modeling. The survey found that nearly three-fourths of the 18 respondents now use advanced modeling, most beginning in the mid to late 2000s.
Respondents to the 2012 survey reported a range of benefits associated with 3-D modeling, including time and cost savings and enhancements in quality and customer relations. The survey found several trends:
- Agencies use advanced modeling techniques for reconstruction and grading projects, intersection improvements, culvert replacements, storm sewer and drainage improvements and bridge replacements.
- Most respondents reported that contractors are using 3-D models for automated machine guidance.
- Maryland, Washington and Wisconsin are using four-dimensional models that add the dimension of time (construction scheduling) to spatially based 3-D models.
Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration Grants Available
Arkansas Holds Adaptive Signal Control Technology Workshop
FHWA partnered with Metroplan, the Little Rock, Ark., metropolitan planning organization, on an adaptive signal control technology systems engineering workshop. The workshop was held to help Metroplan implement a new traffic signal improvement program in cooperation with cities in central Arkansas. The 35 public agency representatives who attended the February 5 and 6 event discussed their efforts to coordinate their traffic signal improvements.
Colorado Uses Weekend Closure on Design-Build Project
As part of a $98 million design-build project, the Colorado Department of Transportation closed part of a six-lane freeway connecting downtown Denver with the western suburbs over the weekend starting February 14. During the closure, crews worked day and night to remove bridges, relocate overhead power lines and signs, take out center median barrier and put a temporary barrier in place. Normally, it would have taken about 20 nights to do the work.
Florida Conference Promotes Every Day Counts
FHWA staff marketed Every Day Counts innovations at the Florida Transportation Builders' Association Construction Conference in Orlando. They touted Florida's accomplishments during the first two rounds of EDC during the opening session and conducted a workshop on intelligent compaction to encourage implementation on projects throughout the state. They also staffed a booth on EDC technologies.
Michigan Markets EDC and SHRP2 Initiatives
FHWA personnel staffed a booth at Michigan's two largest annual gatherings of transportation professionals: the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association Conference and the Michigan Department of Transportation/American Council of Engineering Companies Partnering Conference. The display was a Michigan State Transportation Innovation Council effort to showcase the Every Day Counts and second Strategic Highway Research Program initiatives and technology advances in the state.
Oklahoma Awards 3-D Projects
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has awarded three projects totaling $59 million with 3-D special provisions. Oklahoma DOT earthwork 3-D model data will be transmitted to contractors for use with GPS machine controls that guide construction equipment. The combination of 3-D modeling and GPS machine control will help the agency finish highway projects faster while improving construction quality and site safety. The agency plans to include 3-D modeling special provisions when possible on future projects with more than 50,000 cubic yards of earthwork.
Oklahoma Event Features High-Friction Surface Treatments
A presentation on the benefits of high-friction surface treatments was on the agenda at the Oklahoma Asphalt Pavement Association Conference February 11 and 12 in Oklahoma City. FHWA staff also covered lessons learned from Oklahoma's first high-friction surface treatment project. About 275 participants from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, local agencies, contractors and consulting firms attended the event, held each year to showcase new technologies and best practices in asphalt pavement.