Chicago, IL — The City of Chicago instituted its Project Coordination Office (PCO) in 2012 to facilitate coordination between multiple service providers within the public right of way. Collins Engineers, Inc. (Collins), a Chicago civil and structural engineering firm, was selected by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) to administer the PCO and provide oversight for the coordination of all City utility construction activities. Prior to 2012, City Aldermen and residents complained about multiple, repeated disruptions to traffic due to work in the right of way, as well as cutting into and patching of newly constructed pavement.

“Critical project information is now available in one platform, and is updated constantly to provide the most accurate representation of any project’s current status,” said CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld. “Increased accessibility of data, combined with the ease of use and functionality of the solution helps bring roadway construction and other projects to completion much faster than before, thereby saving millions of dollars.”

The City’s administration has been able to save and invest in infrastructure rather than on duplicative restoration. Since its inception, the PCO and the implementation of cooperative processes have saved the City of Chicago over $38.5 million. The PCO’s coordination of work within the public right of way provides both financial and non-monetary benefits to residents, affected municipal administrations, CDOT, and public and private service providers and utilities. Residents experience fewer traffic delays, more regular commute times, better quality roads, and reduced emissions. CDOT can point to benefits that include extended service life of roads, reduction in temporary traffic control needs, fewer patches leading to fewer potholes, and better oversight of the construction activities. Other service providers, e.g., cable, electric, and gas, have found reduced costs for pavement restoration, shared/reduced mobilization costs, and input into scheduling of field work.

Thomas J. Collins, President of Collins Engineers, added, “Collins has been working with CDOT on this task since the PCO was established in 2012, and we’re happy that we’ve been able to assist in opening the lines of communication among stakeholders and helping the City cost-effectively address its infrastructure management needs.”

As part of the execution of the overall program, Collins contracted SADA Systems to develop dotMaps, a cloud-based application leveraging Google Maps for Work tools and Google Cloud Platform. dotMaps includes an intuitive map editing/creation tool and allows users to edit the information associated with various projects as well as visualize projects geospatially to highlight important interrelationships. The application provides real-time information and communication abilities throughout projects.

Under the management of the PCO, conflicts are now identified and addressed readily, reducing the risk of duplicated efforts on construction, contributing to $14.5 million in savings YTD 2014 with new processes implemented by the PCO, including the dotMaps application.

The City of Chicago PCO and the dotMaps application will be presented at the upcoming NACTO Designing Cities Conference in San Francisco October 22-25, 2014.

About Collins Engineers
In 1979, Collins Engineers, Inc. opened its doors in Chicago providing engineering services in structural and transportation analysis and design. Today, Collins is an ENR Top 500 Design Firm and provides design and analysis services coupled with field experience to the transportation, marine, and construction industries. Such practical experience provides a unique and customized approach in the development of innovative and useful solutions. Continually on the leading edge of best practices and methodology, Collins provides engineering ingenuity and solutions to complex problems, and realistic, honest answers.