CDOT Saves Time and Money Paving the Way to Digital with Adobe Acrobat Sign

Image source: CDOT.

There’s a population boom in Colorado, and it’s easy to understand why — a thriving economy and the great outdoors are hard to beat. But the growth puts a lot of pressure on infrastructure, especially roads.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is responsible for maintaining 23,000 miles of highway and more than 3,400 bridges across the state. When it snows, dozens of CDOT snowplows clear the roads, making it safe for commuters to get to work and skiers to reach the slopes. It’s a big job and it only gets bigger as more people move into the state.

CDOT manages $1.4 billion in roadway construction projects every year — among the largest state transportation budgets in the U.S. It’s no small operation, and it requires a lot of paperwork. Each project requires a plan set — complex documents that can stretch up to 3,000 or more pages. Currently, every page of plans must be signed using digital seals of those professional engineers responsible for design, including consulting firms performing design for CDOT projects. Large plans may involve numerous companies and dozens of professional engineers who need to sign multiple pages, sometimes even requiring multiple seals on the same page. And there can be several hundred plan sets in play at any given time.

Moreover, CDOT legal document retention policy requires certain documents, like plan sets, to be kept permanently in an electronic ISO compliant archiving format which translates into many decades of digital storage. In the past, CDOT had to store mountains of paper in numerous physical locations including rented shipping containers. Maintaining the status quo was not feasible or cost effective, especially as the organization prepared to move to new facilities, including a new HQ building in Denver. But where some people might have seen bureaucratic obstacles, decision makers at CDOT saw opportunity.

“Colorado is growing fast, and CDOT needs to keep up with the increasing demand for transportation solutions,” says Tom Bovee, CDOT ProjectWise Program Manager. “As we look for ways to increase efficiency, part of my responsibility is to assist in supporting the strategic direction of CDOT by moving the agency away from paper through adoption of digital documents and e-signatures, both of which support the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) mandated Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative.”

Transforming mountains of paper into streams of data

With its large projects generating thousands of pages of plans and very large file sizes, along with the need to integrate with its ProjectWise system, CDOT’s standards for an e-signature solution were very high. The only solution which came close to meeting its needs was Adobe Acrobat Sign.

“Adobe Acrobat Sign supports up to 50MB files, which was five times more than any other e-signature solution,” Tom says. “The Adobe Acrobat Sign /ProjectWise integration is also enormously important for several reasons. Not only do we rely on ProjectWise for daily project collaboration, it is the industry-standard design platform for most departments of transportation and public utilities around the country.”

CDOT is the first department of transportation in the U.S. to adopt the Acrobat Sign integration with ProjectWise. With the ability to initiate electronic routing of plan sets from within ProjectWise, the solution makes it much easier to obtain e-signatures and seals for both internal and external stakeholders all while having the final executed document automatically returned to the ProjectWise folder it originated from.

Meanwhile, Acrobat Sign uses encryption to keep transmissions more secure and maintains an audit trail, while Adobe Acrobat enables the agency to manage and prepare well-organized files. Recipients can view and take action on documents simply by clicking a link, rather than downloading and storing large files.

That means no more printing multiple 30 to 50 pound stacks of paper and shipping them across Colorado for mechanical sealing. And no further need to keep numerous physical locations or renting shipping containers for long-term physical storage.

“Using Adobe Acrobat Sign for electronic routing and signing, we’re projecting a reduction in signature turnaround times by 85 to 90 percent,” says Tom. “Plus, we estimate we’ll be saving more than $100,000 in labor, printing, shipping, scanning, and document storage costs.”

What’s down the road for CDOT and Acrobat Sign

Next, CDOT plans to use Adobe to tackle change orders, which currently take 30 to 35 days to process, on average. The goal is to reduce that time by 90 percent, to just three days as other DOTs have done by utilizing Acrobat Sign electronic workflows and e-signatures. A recent Procedural Directive extends the solution to all roadway project-related documentation.

“As we roll out Adobe Acrobat Sign in the 2020 construction season, we’ll be a much nimbler state,” Tom says. “When CDOT works faster, roads get fixed faster and traffic flows more smoothly — people see better results for every taxpayer dollar spent.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation uses the Acrobat Sign integration with ProjectWise to save time and money as it builds and maintains Colorado’s roads. To learn how Acrobat Sign can help your organization speed up business transactions, contact us today.