The Regional Transportation District (RTD) serving the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area is in the middle of the largest voter-approved transit system expansion in the U.S. The FasTracks program, valued at $7.4 billion, includes the following deliverables:

  • 122 miles of new rail service
  • 18 miles of bus rapid transit
  • 57 new stations
  • 31 new Park-n-Rides
  • 21,000 new parking spaces
  • Redevelopment of Denver Union Station, an historic landmark

The RTD FasTracks Program consists of 12 construction projects. RTD Capital Programs comprises 25 smaller projects for the maintenance and repair of existing infrastructure. The multiparty teams for these projects include hundreds of individuals across dozens of organizations.

RTD Enterprise Records and Information Manager Brian Starck said:

“On a program as large as FasTracks, everyday tasks can turn into major roadblocks if project teams spread across eight counties and dozens of projects can’t collaborate effectively. We knew that we needed a combination of good teamwork and great document control practices to help us speed information transfer and resolve common communication issues.”

Project Information Challenges

With so many teams on so many projects, RTD and its teams faced a number of process and information management challenges at the outset:

File retention – requirements vary by department and file type, and files for each project must be retained within each organization.

Funding records – multiple public and private funding sources require up-to-date records for each project.

Multiple contract types – general contractor, public-private partnership (PPP) and design-build projects have different contracts covering data ownership and workflow guidelines, all of which need to be managed for each project and across both programs.

Document control bottlenecks and duplication of effort – project data from internal document management systems and contractors needs to be collected and published separately for access by appropriate members of the project team.

Different document control processes – each organization on each project tends to follow a different process in sharing documents and other project information, which impacts workflows and may affect schedules.

Information silos – as a result of document control process differences and bottlenecks, project data can remain ‘siloed’ within the internal systems of different parties rather than shared with the teams as needed.

RTD met these challenges by deploying the Aconex Online Collaboration Platform to capture all data for the FasTrack and Capital Programs projects.

Secure, Central Repository for Project Data

On RTD’s selection of Aconex, FasTracks/Capital Programs Document Control Manager Lisa Vallejo-Dorrance said:

“With these large programs, it requires cooperation from municipalities and agencies and all the key stakeholders. Cooperation requires collaboration, and Aconex provides us with that.”

The Aconex platform enables the RTD project team to capture and manage all project data in one secure, neutral location. Built-in workflows automate essential processes such as review and approval, with an audit trail to manage version control and accountability. Using the Aconex system as a central repository for documents and correspondence allows project team members from different organizations to collaborate with each other while maintaining their preferred internal processes and controlling their own information. As a result, RTD maintains control of all aspects of the projects.

Vallejo-Dorrance continued:

“Our constant goal in the implementation of the FasTracks program is to maximize the value of every dollar spent. An online collaboration platform should save the program significant time and resources, helping us to reach our milestones faster and more efficiently, and hopefully providing better risk management and the highest levels of build quality and program transparency.”

Results and ROI

The Aconex platform saves RTD document controllers significant amounts of time that would have been spent in collecting project documentation and distributing it to other team members. Faster document management – combined with the ability to grant data distribution rights to team members – accelerates project ramp-up across FasTracks and Capital Programs.

“On the Eagle P3 project, we were able to implement Aconex not only for RTD, but also for the entire concessionaire team and all the stakeholders within four weeks…and that was crucial,” Vallejo-Dorrance said. “We were able to start loading documents right after the contract was awarded. Everybody jumped on board, and we were up and running in no time.

“Formerly, we had to have three document controllers to support only a medium size project. With Aconex, we are going to support over 40 projects with a staff of nine. And that is huge in terms of cost savings. Aconex is allowing RTD to lead one of the most innovative projects in the country.”

RTD’s total cost savings: an estimated $116 million over the next three years. In September 2011, RTD received the Vision Awards’ Best Team Award from Constructech Magazine for its use of Aconex on the FasTracks projects. Source: RTD.

Photos courtesy of Denver Regional Transportation District

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