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New Transportation Technologies Emerge During COVID-19 Pandemic

May 14, 2020      By Andrew Poszich, PE

Tags: Transportation

Photo of a road with technology icons overlaid.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, those fortunate enough to be able to work from home have found new ways to conduct business. Modern laptops allow us to run intensive applications from anywhere and remote servers keep everything centralized, while Zoom meetings and Microsoft Teams sites have helped us connect and keep in touch with what we’re working on.

For transportation design professionals, new workflows are emerging, and existing tools are being reimagined to help us design, review, and share our work with clients and the public. The results will prove beneficial even after this coronavirus pandemic subsides.

Virtual Client, Public Review

We are developing toolsets across our transportation practice that will create virtual meeting environments that can mirror shareholder meetings, client reviews and even public engagement sessions. The goal is to bring a familiar reality into a virtual setting that will still feel recognizable to the user.

For instance, a browser window can drop you into a public meeting with project experts to interact with, plans and project boards to review, 3D visualizations to stream, and feedback and question forms to fill out. Moving beyond today’s current environment, this program could supplement public meetings for those who cannot attend in person and provide a way for those to review the material afterwards.

Another tool at our disposal is the use of 360-degree photos to emulate a fully navigable 3D model. This enables anyone with an internet connection to easily and intuitively understand the project. Recent integrations with LumenRT has made it even easier to go from design to a working visual model.

This method can really showcase projects in an exciting way, while also giving those involved a tool to digest the project on their own time.

Virtual Workspaces

Like many others in the transportation industry, my morning starts off with a brief check-in with my team. Through these daily meetings, we can quickly find out what everyone is working on and who may need help while providing a platform for impromptu, in-office conversations. These check-in types of meetings are echoed across all levels.

Whether it’s using Microsoft Teams for tracking project tasks and meetings to practice-wide communication via Zoom, the right tool can be utilized for the occasion. In order to stay connected, our team has begun relying more heavily on the collaborative functionality whether in Adobe or Bluebeam Studio Sessions. Being able to engage each other in the same interactive settings allows for a more streamlined workflow while keeping everyone on the same page.

Not only can we share our work within PDFs, but we are now beginning to leverage collaboration within our 3D designs. One example is how we’ve begun utilizing early versions of Bentley’s iTwin Design Software to track markups and changes in a real-time 3D environment.

iTwin Review

This program gives the project manager the ability to look at everything happening on a project. Their view on screen changes to reflect exactly what the commenter on the project was looking at. From there, the project manager can check, resolve and verify that any issues with the design have been corrected.

As someone who is a true believer in what technology can do for the engineering process, it’s amazing how much innovation has come out of what is truly a worrisome time.

Learn more about our transportation services.

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