In many countries – especially in the US – our lives revolve around a handheld, portable device. Whether for business or for pleasure, our daily routines are centered around information and communication exchange through cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other mobile devices. You can do just about anything online – order lunch, buy groceries, do your taxes, apply for a mortgage. Despite the convenience, it’s no surprise that some aspects of highway construction and program implementation have resisted evolving to digital platforms to “go paperless”—until recently.
Highway projects historically involve paper plan sets, paper documentation, and wet-ink signatures for contract documents and other approvals – which is no wonder why projects usually take a long time. Even with the introduction of computer-based management systems in recent decades, transportation agencies and contractors still print much of the documentation that is developed originally in electronic format simply because it is standard procedure.
No more of this. We’re stepping in to the future, and everyone is getting on board. The highway industry is revolutionizing how it does business to deliver projects more efficiently. The Federal Highway Administration and State departments of transportation are adopting “e-Construction” as a tool to remove paperwork and associated costs, improve communication and environmental sustainability, and facilitate more efficient project delivery.
So, what lives under the umbrella of “e-Construction?” E-Construction is the creation, review, approval, distribution and storage of highway construction documents in a paperless environment; and, these processes include: electronic submission of all documentation, electronic document routing and approval (including e-signatures), and real-time management of documents in a secure digital environment that is accessible through mobile devices and web-based platforms.
This new paperless approach makes it possible to collect twice as much data compared to older, paper-based methods. Think about the efficiencies that can be gained if everyone could connect to the same information through a digital platform. The world is moving towards paperless processes – don’t get left behind.