Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 51-01. Practices for Construction-Ready Digital Terrain Models

The highway construction industry’s use of digital terrain models (DTMs) has dramatically improved production and efficiency. Highway designers and consultants, however, have experienced some challenges in their efforts to use DTMs effectively. Specifically, the rapid proliferation of and advances in DTM technology have made it difficult to consistently prepare construction-ready DTMs for inspectors and contractors. That is, while designers incorporate the necessary level of detail into their DTMs to complete a design, when DTM files are handed over to inspectors or contractors, they require significant adjustments or reformatting to render them usable for construction, or they are scrapped entirely. Editing and reformatting DTMs is time-consuming and hinders project execution. State departments of transportation (DOTs) vary in their documented guidance on the development and handover of DTMs to construction. Various approaches exist for file management protocols, survey practices, and plan production methods. Some states push the control of the model to design consultants and have them work with the contractors for transition to construction. Some states also document their degree of liability in regard to the accuracy and use of the DTMs in construction. Conversely, there are also states that provide no guidance regarding the use of DTMs in construction. The objective of this synthesis is to document current processes and strategies to the effective use and transfer of DTMs from design into the construction phase of highway projects. The study will document DOT identified benefits and challenges to using DTMs in highway construction and inspection.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01704603
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 51-01
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: May 13 2019 3:09PM