Assessing the impacts of mobile technology on public transportation project inspection

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, planning - methods, technology - management information systems


Mobile technology, Construction management, Project inspection, Highway infrastructure, Inspection data quality


Advancements in mobile technology capabilities and affordability allow many Departments of Transportation (DOT) the opportunity to use these technologies to improve the time-consuming nature of collecting, documenting, and distributing project inspection information. A mobile technology system for project inspection, called HeadLight, is piloted with the Washington, Minnesota, and Texas Departments of Transportation on 31 projects over a 3-month time span. Field measurements and interviews are used to quantify improvements offered by mobile technology over current practice. This empirical data is evaluated using standard software and process change evaluation metrics: time savings, data volume, data variety, data completeness, data timeliness, and data availability. Results indicate that project inspectors using the mobile technology system experienced productivity gains on the order of 25%, collected and shared twice as many observations, and improved the timeliness of daily reports and overall data availability. Additionally, the mobile technology solution is found to enable more complete and consistent data, improved accessibility throughout a project office and DOT. All these outcomes indicate mobile technology for project inspection allows the inspection workforce to work more efficiently. Further study into improved data quality and availability may identify more impacts within the construction inspection process and to a DOT's decision making processes.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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