Integrated Field and Office Tools for Bridge Management

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - benefits, organisation - management


Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Voice recognition, User interfaces (Computer science), Training, Technological innovations, Speech recognition, Speech processing systems, Personnel training, Man computer interfaces, Inspectors, Inspection, Human computer interfaces, Economic benefits, Data collection, Data acquisition, Computer interfaces, Bridge management systems, Advanced technology


The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s (WisDOT) Bureau of Structures Data Consolidation Project brings together all bridge-related data into a single data warehouse, the Highway Structures Information System (HSIS), which includes inventory, inspection and maintenance records, and maintenance costs. With the new HSIS, WisDOT’s interactive bridge inspection forms and data procedures became incompatible. This conflict presented a timely opportunity to investigate alternative data collection tools that would be practicable in the field. This paper investigates the use of alternative field data collection technologies for bridge inspectors. The participation of bridge inspectors in identifying functional requirements led to an assembly of field tools that included the tablet PC with a shoulder carrying case, a noise-canceling headset microphone, and a tethered pen. Bridge inspectors from six districts volunteered to train on the handwriting and speech recognition technologies and then to test the tools in the field. This paper presents the tool selection process, the technology choices assessed, the training of inspectors, the evaluation of the technology adoption, and the economic benefits of the new technology.