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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Highway Infrastructure Inspection Practices for the Digital Age. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26592.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Highway Infrastructure Inspection Practices for the Digital Age. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26592.
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Page 2
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Highway Infrastructure Inspection Practices for the Digital Age. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26592.
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Page 3
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Highway Infrastructure Inspection Practices for the Digital Age. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26592.
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Page 4

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1   Inspection of highway infrastructure is critical in any transportation system because it ensures conformance with plans, specifications, and material requirements, all of which can affect the life cycle of transportation assets. In fact, one of the main missions of state departments of transportation (DOTs) and the FHWA is to provide high-quality products and facilities that meet or exceed specified quality standards. Historically, state DOTs have employed on-site inspectors to perform infrastructure inspection. In the digital age, various technologies are changing how state DOTs deliver, inspect, and maintain their highway construction projects. With the incorporation of the latest technolog- ical advancements, the inspection landscape has been changing rapidly. For example, a wide range of technologies are available to support construction inspection activities and collect digital data for estimation of quantities, verification and acceptance, and creation of as-built records. These technologies potentially offer benefits such as improved data qual- ity and consistency, enhanced communication, improved transparency, and improved safety for field personnel. However, the use of technologies and digital tools for highway infrastructure inspection during construction and maintenance of assets varies among state DOTs. The goal of this synthesis is to identify and document the various technologies used by state DOTs to inspect highway infrastructure during construction and maintenance of assets. Specifically, the synthesis (1) identifies four technology areas (geospatial technolo- gies, remote sensing and monitoring technologies, mobile devices and software applica- tions, and nondestructive testing methods) currently in use by DOTs for inspection of new and existing highway infrastructure assets; (2) gathers information on the differ- ent methods used to assess the viability and efficiencies of inspection technologies; and (3) identifies how information generated from the technologies is used for construction project management, allocating resources, and determining the condition of assets. Addi- tionally, the synthesis identifies challenges and success factors and documents lessons learned by individual state DOTs in their efforts to implement technologies for highway infrastructure inspection. The study methodology consisted of three main steps: a literature review; a survey of DOTs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia; and case examples with selected state DOTs. The literature review involved collecting and reviewing journal articles and technical reports, as well as gathering state DOT documents, reports, templates, and guidelines on the four identified technology areas. The survey questionnaire was distributed to the members of the AASHTO Committee on Construction, of which 42 state DOTs completed a survey response (an 82% response rate). The responses were tabulated and analyzed to identify the current state of the practice of DOTs’ use of various technologies to inspect highway infra- structure during construction and maintenance of assets. Finally, structured interviews with S U M M A R Y Highway Infrastructure Inspection Practices for the Digital Age

2 Highway Infrastructure Inspection Practices for the Digital Age eight selected state DOTs provided case examples of the implementation of technologies for inspection of new and existing highway infrastructure assets. The state DOTs of Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota participated in the case examples. The results indicate that DOTs use various technologies to inspect highway infrastructure during construction and maintenance of assets. The key findings of this synthesis are summarized as follows: (additional findings are presented in Chapter 5) 1. Geospatial technologies: Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and the Global Positioning System (GPS) are the most dominant geospatial technologies used by the state DOTs that reported use of geospatial technologies for inspection of highway infrastructure during construction (81% of 32 DOT responses). The top inspection activities involving GNSS and GPS technologies during highway construction, as mentioned in the survey and case examples, include earthwork inspection and quantities, verification and docu- mentation of work completed, and collection of as-built information. Geographic Infor- mation Systems (GIS) are the most dominant geospatial technology used by state DOTs (59% of 32 DOT responses) for inspection of highway infrastructure during maintenance of assets. The top inspection activities using GIS technologies during maintenance of high- way infrastructure assets, according to the survey and case examples, include inventories and inspection of signage, culverts, and guardrails, and sharing asset information between different functional units. 2. Remote sensing and monitoring technologies: Two-thirds of the respondents (28 of 42) reported use of remote sensing and monitoring technologies. More than half of the 28 DOT respondents have used remote sensors (75%) and remote cameras (54%) for inspection of highway infrastructure during construction. From the survey and case examples, the top inspection activities involving remote sensors and remote cameras during highway construction include measuring material strength and temperature, capturing site photos and videos, and measuring construction progress. More than 30% of the 28 DOT respondents have used remote cameras (36%) and Light imaging, Detection, and Ranging (LiDAR) and 3D laser scanning (32%) for inspection of highway infrastructure during maintenance of assets. The top inspection activities using LiDAR and 3D laser scanning during maintenance of highway infrastructure assets, as stated in the survey and case examples, include detection of pavement cracks and defects, assessment of slope stability and landslides, and location of material placement for performance tracking. 3. Mobile devices and software applications: The survey results showed that tablets and smartphones are the most dominant mobile devices used by the 41 state DOTs that reported use of mobile devices for inspection of highway infrastructure during construction (90% of the 41 DOT responses) and maintenance of assets (39% of the 41 DOT responses). The top inspection activities using tablets and smartphones during construction, collected from the survey and case examples, include verification and documentation of work completed for payment, monitoring construction progress, and capturing site photos and videos. The top inspection activities using tablets and smartphones during maintenance of highway infrastructure assets, collected from the survey and case examples, include inventories and inspection of signage, culverts, guardrails, and other highway assets, and sharing asset information between different functional units. 4. Nondestructive evaluation technologies: More than half of the 28 DOT respondents that reported use of nondestructive evaluation technologies use nuclear density gauges (93%), dynamic test loading for piles (86%), cross-hole sonic logging for drilled shafts (75%), surface profile measuring systems (71%), ground-penetrating radar (64%), and ultrasonic testing (57%) for highway inspection during construction. The top inspection activities using non- destructive evaluation technologies during highway construction, as stated in the survey

Summary 3   and case examples, include in-situ material characterization, foundation investigation, structural inspection, and identification of bridge deck deterioration. More than a quarter of these 28 DOTs have used ground-penetrating radar (39%) and surface profile measuring systems (29%) for inspection of highway infrastructure during maintenance of assets. The top inspection activities involving nondestructive evaluation technologies during maintenance of highway infrastructure assets, as stated in the survey and case examples, include structural inspection, real-time automated pavement distress measurements, and identification of fatigue and fracture damage. 5. Other emerging technologies: The literature review found that state DOTs are increas- ingly using e-ticketing technology and unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) for inspection of highway infrastructure during construction and maintenance of assets. The survey results revealed that, of the 32 DOTs that reported use of geospatial technologies, 59% have used e-ticketing and 50% have used UASs for highway infrastructure inspection during construction. The top inspection activities mentioned in the case examples that involve UASs during highway construction include monitoring construction progress and capturing site photos and videos. The top inspection activities mentioned in the case examples that use e-ticketing during highway construction include tracking the position of bulk material and verifying and documenting work completed for payment. In addition, 31% of these 32 DOTs have used UASs for highway infrastructure inspec- tion during maintenance of assets. The top inspection activities mentioned in the case examples that use UASs during maintenance of highway infrastructure assets include structural inspection and assessment of slope stability and landslides. 6. Evaluation of inspection technologies: Evaluation of technologies varies widely among state DOTs. More than two-thirds of the 42 DOT survey respondents have used the fol- lowing evaluation metrics to evaluate technologies for highway inspection: efficiencies gained when using technologies, increase in quality of a project, overcoming limited inspection resources, and cost–benefit analysis. However, 53% of the 42 DOT respon- dents do not track the cost-effectiveness of an implemented technology and 33% of the 42 DOT respondents are unsure about tracking the cost-effectiveness of implementing technologies. More than 75% of the 42 DOT respondents indicated that the information is not available for conducting a return on investment (ROI) analysis regarding the use of technologies for highway infrastructure inspection. 7. Challenges in the implementation of inspection technologies: The survey results showed that the main challenges in the implementation of technologies for highway inspection are: (1) cost issues; (2) lack of training, knowledge, and skills to use technologies; (3) requirements for device maintenance and user support; (4) lack of reliable internet connection in remote locations; and (5) resistance to change among staff and inspectors. The challenges in the implementation of inspection technologies observed in the case examples involve keeping hardware and software up to date because of rapidly changing technologies. 8. Training: Approximately two-thirds of the 42 responding state DOTs have provided field- based training, peer training, online training, or classroom-based training for their staff regarding the use of technologies for highway inspection. From the case examples, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) observed the benefits of regularly providing training to employees so they can learn the technology as well as refresher training to keep inspectors up to date. Oregon and Pennsylvania DOTs noted that providing effective training on the use of technologies helped to overcome resistance to change among staff and inspectors and gain buy-in from users. This synthesis documents a number of gaps in the research that present needs for future study. First, there is a lack of guidance on how inspection technologies can effectively be used to offset limited inspection resources. Future research could help develop a framework to

4 Highway Infrastructure Inspection Practices for the Digital Age empirically investigate the relationships between inspection technologies and alloca- tion of inspection resources during construction and asset management. Second, there is limited guidance for tracking benefit–cost analysis and ROI of technology implementa- tions. Future research is suggested to develop guidance on conducting benefit–cost analyses and an ROI assessment of inspection technologies for highway infrastructure. Finally, in the case examples, several state DOTs (e.g., Iowa, Oregon, Pennsylvania) noted a challenge in getting staff to buy into using technologies for inspections in lieu of traditional means. Future research is suggested to investigate how to gain buy-in from users and leadership in an efficient manner and how to develop effective training methods to provide core skill sets and competence for inspectors using technology.

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Historically, state departments of transportation (DOTs) have employed on-site workforces to execute infrastructure inspection using traditional inspection methods.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Synthesis 582: Highway Infrastructure Inspection Practices for the Digital Age documents the various technologies - such as unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), embedded and remote sensors, intelligent machines, mobile devices, and new software applications - used by DOTs to inspect highway infrastructure during construction and maintenance of assets.

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