On August 15th, Kathryn Weisner of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Suri Sadasivam and Jagannath Mallela from WSP USA, and Brett Williams from the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) discussed the ongoing development and future possibilities of e-Ticketing via a webinar.
Despite hurdles such as internet connectivity, small supplier involvement, and limited IT resources, e-Ticketing continues to progress. The main benefits of e-Ticketing are the digitization and automation of tasks, and the use of collected data for advanced analysis. Though the full impact of the insights gained is unclear, it is expected to be substantial.
The Hurdles Will Be Designed Around, Not Solved
Some of these hurdles are preventable, and some are not. E-Ticketing specifications will ultimately accommodate these inevitabilities. For example, in some situations cell coverage will be unavailable, a truck will not have telematics (i.e. last minute rental, telematics device issues), or an inspector's device will break. The stakeholders are all well aware of this, and are working to develop backup plans that don't undermine the reliability of E-Ticketing. These are not issues to fear or avoid but practical problems to collaborate on and resolve. While it's reasonable to expect a requirement that all tickets be eventually digital in the near future, there will always need to be an accommodation for situations where they can't be initially digital.
Data Utilization In Focus
The practicality of data and its acquisition will soon shift to strategic usage. The intelligent application of this data, enabled by advanced analytics, will result in both opportunities and threats for contractors. But, the availability of structured electronic ticket data is inevitable, and thus, the optimal approach is smarter management of it.
Advanced Uses of E-Ticketing Data
The e-Ticketing information could be utilized for several advanced applications, many of which were mentioned. For example, it could allow for auditing of subcontractor payments and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goals, and it could provide an electronic proof of work that assures the contracted obligations are met. The data also could enable the calculation of paving flow rates which could contribute to more efficient work schedules and processes. Moreover, the integrated data helps support lifecycle assessment, allowing for Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) auditing, and analysis of asset failures in a forensic manner. It can also be used in constructing enhanced asset condition performance models, offering key insights that can contribute significantly to better asset management.
Transparency and Competitive Edge
A primary outcome of the e-Ticketing initiative will be enhanced transparency. Even currently protected data may be more accessible due to digital transformation and existing laws such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This level of transparency will provide insight into competitive behaviors and market trends, for better and worse. e-Ticketing will give a competitive edge to those who can create and use new knowledge. This advantage is crucial as the time frames to profit from existing knowledge are shrinking.
Emphasis on Sustainability
The intersection of Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) and e-Ticketing was discussed. The specifics were not clear, but the direction of the trend is. And that makes sense, since details on the ticket would provide additional clarity about the carbon embodied in the pavement. It's notable that if the e-Ticket data is sufficient to estimate embodied carbon, it will also be sufficient to estimate most details about mix designs, and so this should be considered as an opportunity and threat.
e-Ticketing brings its difficulties and threats, and it also poses opportunities. Contractors should stay updated, collaborate with owners, expect a full e-Ticketing transition, and plan to maximize the benefits of this data evolution. e-Ticketing could be a beneficial opportunity, and the resulting information rich environment will favor those that know what to do with the data.
While it isn't necessary to revisit the entire session, it's useful to have these slides for future reference.
With XBE, you'll comply with e-Ticketing requirements, but the true opportunity lies in learning to generate and leverage knowledge created from this data. You can count on us for that too.
Founder & CEO, XBE