Across the United States, it is agreed that it is only a matter of time before autonomous vehicles are ready to roll out onto the streets, but a question remains if the country’s roadways and bridges can support them. Although driverless vehicles navigate using on-board cameras and sensors, it’s thought that they can only be truly successful within a smart transportation network, connected by Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) technologies. These technologies allow vehicles to “speak” to each other and roadside infrastructure, wirelessly exchanging data through ad-hoc networks.
Cars with V2V systems use cameras, radar, and wireless communication devices to exchange information on speed and position with nearby vehicles. Similarly, V2I uses roadside sensors and components, such as cameras, traffic lights, lane markers, and signs, to capture traffic data and transmit real-time advisories on accidents, congestion, and other roadway conditions to vehicles on the road, enabling drivers or autonomous vehicles to make the decision to preemptively slow down or find an alternative route. V2I components are already being installed alongside and integrated with Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) equipment to fortify existing systems.
V2V and V2I could be revolutionary in preventing crashes and cutting down on travel times, but there are still roadblocks to their implementation. Planners must address how these smart systems accommodate the safety and mobility needs of disconnected vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians, as well as conditions caused by inclement weather or poorly maintained infrastructure. Another issue is the disparity in wireless technologies used by automakers (V2V) and Departments of Transportation (V2I). Automakers promote 5G communication due to the robust bandwidth and potential capability, but DOTs prefer digital short-range communication (DSRC) because it operates on a protected frequency. While this discrepancy would inhibit the complete system, steps are already being made toward a resolution.
CHA’s Transportation Team provides innovative solutions that consider the inevitable role communication technologies will play in an integrated smart transportation network. By designing infrastructure and ITS projects with connected vehicles in mind now, costly modifications can be avoided in the future.
Saratoga Springs City Hall
The historic City Hall in Saratoga Springs, New York has been faithfully serving the city since the late 1800s, but the building needs restoration and revitalization to become a functional municipal building for the 21st century. The original 1871 building was struck by lightning in August 2018, resulting in smoke, fire and water damage that has kept this landmark closed for more than one year.
With misfortune, however, comes opportunity. With the first major renovation this 68,000 sq. ft. building will see in more than 50 years, this project will restore the facility and also extensively update its plumbing, heating and cooling, and electrical systems; enhance information technology and security; and add new court offices, an elevator, and public meeting spaces. The restoration of the basement and first floor is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, with the restoration of the second floor and third-floor music hall completed in the spring of 2020. CHA has been selected to serve as owner’s representative for the restoration project.
Accomack County Landfill Closure
Closing a landfill in Virginia is complex due to the erosion of sandy soils leading to difficulties in keeping the soil barrier layer in place during construction. The Accomack County Landfill was willing to try a state-of-the-art approach to closing its landfill using a new landfill closure technology called ClosureTurf®, an innovative synthetic grass product, to cover the geomembrane without this barrier soil. The Accomack County Landfill was only the second landfill in Virginia to utilize this product.
Utilizing ClosureTurf® in lieu of placing approximately 20,000 cubic yards of barrier soils, saved approximately 1,000 truck trips. This has the net benefit of reducing the carbon footprint during construction by up to 80%. The manufacturer of the turf estimates that average maintenance costs will be reduced by approximately 90% per acre per year over the 30-year life of the cover.
CHA was awarded an ACEC Virginia Engineering Excellence Award in 2018 for this project.
VDC: Disrupting or Empowering
Not long ago, Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) was seen as an industry disrupter, forcing AEC firms to rethink how they designed and managed complex projects. Now that’s all changed and VDC is viewed as an essential tool to facilitate collaboration, proactive project management, and predictability. VDC means more coordination up front in modeling and less coordination in the field translating to reduced change orders and more predictable construction costs.
VDC is a complete technology solution. It includes Cloud-based collaboration, 3D BIM models, drone imagery, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and laser scanning. It allows us to capture all existing conditions at a site and coordinate real-time activity so that we can more reliably predict issues and hold tighter to estimates. As the data input increases, we gain even greater control. 3D Building Information Modeling (BIM) introduces spatial coordination; 4D BIM ties in the element of time and allows us to animate the construction schedule; and 5D BIM brings in the element of cost.
With multiple consultants and contractors involved in a project, an integrated model that everyone can access and contribute to accelerates communication and collaboration. Digging even deeper, vendors can now supply models of equipment well before delivery, and contractors can utilize cost saving options such as just-in-time-delivery of materials or pre-fabricated construction due to the reliability and accuracy of the real-time model.
From a client perspective, VDC allows you to visualize a project well beyond a set of printed plans. With VR glasses, you can interact with the design, or have the people who will actually be working in the facility interact with the design before it is built, to ensure that it will meet their operational needs.
CHA views VDC as empowering and has taken a proactive approach to VDC beginning with the addition of a Manager of VDC and strategically building a team focused on implementing the use of all of these technologies and data points across our projects.
Contact Preston Lambert, Manager of VDC at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.