Technologies to Support Storage, Retrieval, and Utilization of 3-D Utility Location Data

It is commonly held among transportation officials that the accurate location and characterization of utilities (both above and below ground) and other similar facilities, especially deeply-buried ones, and their timely protection or relocation is a major factor in preventing delays in highway renewal projects. Such delays can extend the period of project development and impede construction delivery as documented in the final report for SHRP 2 Project R01, "Encouraging Innovation in Locating and Characterizing Underground Utilities." Inaccurate location of utilities contributes to traffic and community disruption when service lines are encountered unexpectedly or access by utility repair crews is blocked by construction activities. Inadvertent damage to underground utilities can lead to environmental damage or even put the health and safety of construction workers and the public at risk. Because utilities often are co-located on highway rights of way, renewal projects are vulnerable to utility-related delay and disruption. It is important to develop accurate plans that fully consider utilities and, by knowing this information early in the project development process, develop effective and cost-efficient strategies to protect or relocate the utility or provide alternative service to utility customers if service must be interrupted temporarily. Currently, many underground utilities are difficult to locate and characterize and often impede progress of transportation projects. Utilities can become "lost" as construction alters the landscape and pre-existing benchmarks are removed. In the worst cases, no information exists until the utility is encountered during construction. These situations often result in significant delays to construction because work is suspended while utilities are relocated or the facility is redesigned. Unplanned service interruptions have even wider impact on communities served by the utility. The importance of this topic has led to an increased focus by project and utility owners in recent years as the current capabilities are taxed by renewal projects of increasing complexity. This project is intended to identify best practices for modeling, structuring, storing, retrieving, visualizing, and integrating 3-D utility data and to develop an innovative approach that leverages recent advances in technologies including, but not limited to, global positioning systems (GPS), ground penetrating radar, and geographical information systems (GIS). These practices would improve the quality and efficiency of storing, retrieving, and utilizing utility records include active and passive detection equipment, with three-dimensional positional and structural information. The project is also intended to demonstrate the collection, management, and use of such information in a multi-utility environment. The overall objective is to reduce the time spent on repeatedly "refinding" known utilities so that resources can be focused on unknown or previously mis-recorded utilities and so that an increasingly comprehensive record of utility information beneath public rights-of-way can be created.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project R01(A)

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Strategic Highway Research Program 2

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Taylor, Chuck

  • Performing Organizations:

    Gas Technology Institute

    1700 South Mount Prospect Road
    Des Plaines, IL  United States  60107
  • Principal Investigators:

    Farag, Alicia

  • Start Date: 20090901
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20131130
  • Source Data: RiP Project 21383

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462168
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project R01(A)
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 1:59PM