Innovation and the Department of Transportation (DOT)

Author: Stockpile Reports

Innovation and the Department of Transportation (DOT) | Stockpile Reports

Did you know that the Department of Transportation (DOT) was established by an act of Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 15, 1966? The department’s first official day of operation was April 1, 1967.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is the principal agency responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing national transportation policy and administering most federal transportation programs.

The department also makes available billions of dollars in federal grants each year to state and local authorities to help improve transportation programs throughout the country. Every U.S. state, including Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia has an agency or a DOT department with transportation planning.

However, infrastructure growth is slowing, so the maintenance, preservation, and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure are becoming increasingly more important. As public funding shifts from construction to maintenance, maintenance organizations become more accountable to administrators, politicians, and the public for a safe, convenient, and accessible transportation system.

A Stockpile Reports training session at the TxDOT.
A Stockpile Reports training session at the TxDOT.

The country’s entire transportation system is under growing strain, and estimates of the cost to repair and upgrade the system to meet current and future demands are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. You probably notice a sign of this strain every day if you encounter a new pothole in the road, experience grid-locked traffic, or see road crews at work.

Maintenance organizations are key to not only protecting the nation’s multibillion-dollar highway investment but also for continuing to provide a safe, efficient transportation system.

Technology is changing the kinds of information and infrastructures that must be maintained. Statewide DOTs are now exploring and testing new ways to be innovative in their processes to save money for taxpayers.

Advanced technology is increasingly being incorporated into the transportation infrastructure, and as a result, new maintenance procedures and a very different set of skills for maintenance managers as well as maintenance workers are being required.

Stockpile Reports has been working closely with the Texas DOT  and other statewide transportation organizations, and are proud to be assisting with new solutions, processes and technology. The TxDOT expects to save a significant amount of money —perhaps in the millions of dollars— by implementing our platform as a part of their statewide maintenance initiatives.

Using an iPhone to measure stockpiles is changing the way DOT’s are doing business.
Using an iPhone to measure stockpiles is changing the way DOT’s are doing business.

Besides using an iPhone to measure stockpiles, other ideas that integrate the iPhone measurements include:

  • Measuring debris piles for contract hauling volumes
  • Measuring materials on hand volumes
  • Measuring stockpile volumes for change order negotiations
  • Measuring stockpile volumes for monthly pay estimates
  • Measuring monthly supplier inventories
  • Measuring vendor stockpile volumes to meet testing requirements

Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking. Yet state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have ambitious goals: improve safety, address congestion, enhance economic opportunity, improve reliability, preserve system assets, accelerate project delivery, and help to create healthier, more livable neighborhoods, just to name a few. These goals would be challenging even if money were no object, but dwindling conventional federal and state transportation funding makes these goals even harder to achieve.

It is clear that DOTs across the country are changing the way they do business because it is needed. America’s transportation network is crucial to economic growth. Agencies are taking new approaches to transportation that fit the demands of their states, providing greater benefits at less cost. They are adopting innovative yet pragmatic reforms, using data and new technologies.

The DOT is innovative, and continues to innovate, by reevaluating and retooling traditional practices. All of us at Stockpile Reports feel proud and privileged, to be part of this exciting process.

Resources:

http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653029.pdf
http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/circulars/ec092.pdf
http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/maint/
http://www.planning.dot.gov/documents/briefingbook/bbook.htm
http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/energy/final_report.pdf
http://ntl.bts.gov/historian/history.htm
http://www.allgov.com/departments/department-of-transportation?detailsDepartmentID=578

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