- 1 -
Utilizing e-Ticketing to Increase Productivity and Minimize Shortage of
Karthik Subramanya, S.M. ASCE,1 Sharareh Kermanshachi, Ph.D., P.E., M. ASCE2,
Apurva Pamidimukkala, S.M. ASCE3 and Karthikeyan Loganathan Ph.D4
1Ph.D. Student, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington, 425
Nedderman Hall, 416 Yates Street, Arlington, Tx 76019
2(Corresponding Author) Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of
Texas at Arlington, 425 Nedderman Hall, 416 Yates Street, Arlington, Tx 76019
3Ph.D. Student, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington, 425
Nedderman Hall, 416 Yates Street, Arlington, TX 76019
4Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington, 425
Nedderman Hall, 416 Yates Street, Arlington, TX 76019. Email:
State departments of transportation (DOTs) are constructing and managing more highway projects
than ever before despite limited funds and a shortage of inspectors. A few DOTs and general
contractors have implemented e-Ticketing technology to increase their workforce productivity and
efficiency, but the majority are still using conventional paper methods because they do not fully
comprehend the benefits of the technology. The goal of this study is to quantify the impact of e-
Ticketing technology on the number of inspectors required for a project and on the level of
productivity. A comprehensive literature review and stakeholder survey were conducted and
revealed that all 20 DOTs reported workforce shortages. A comparison was made between the
required number of inspectors prior to and after the implementation of e-Ticketing, and it was
found that projects requiring multiple inspectors could reduce their workforce by 25% by
implementing e-Ticketing. The findings of this research will enable state DOTs to reduce the
number of inspectors on-site, thereby circumventing the shortage of workers.
KEYWORDS: Construction, e-Ticketing, Productivity, DOT, Workforce Shortage
State DOTs have limited inspection personnel and financial resources to meet the increasing
demand for highway construction and rehabilitation projects (Oechler et al., 2018; Rouhanizadeh
and Kermanshachi 2020; Safapour et al., 2020; Subramanya et al., 2020), and the shortage of
inspectors foretells the possibility of quality shortfalls (Taylor and Maloney 2013; Kermanshachi
et al., 2017). A recent study conducted by the Indiana DOT expressed the agency's difficulty in
staffing over the past decade as a result of inspectors quitting their positions or moving to the
private sector. (Cai et al., 2020). The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) also reported a
shortage of inspectors, due to the increased demand for construction (Rush 2021). According to Li
- 2 -
et al., some state DOTs are unable to replace retiring inspectors and engineers, and Anderson et
al. observed that while many state DOTs have improved their ability to retain and manage their
workforce, they still face a shortage of skilled employees (Subramanya and Kermanshachi 2021).
The resignation and retirement of highly qualified inspectors and engineers have significant
impacts on highway inspection capabilities (Newcomer et al., 2019; Nipa et al., 2022).
Researchers are continually searching for new ways to enhance the productivity and
operational efficiency of highway construction by utilizing cutting-edge technology (Nipa and
Kermanshachi 2022). A study by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) demonstrated that
integrating 3D modelling with GPS sensors could yield faster highway construction with greater
worker safety. Some organizations have achieved a 50% increase in output and up to 75%
reduction in inspection costs by utilizing this combination. The FHWA also encourages Electronic
Construction (e-Construction) to minimize delays in project management, store and retrieve
documents securely, and increase real-time management (FHWA 2018; Patel et al., 2019;
Embacher 2020). By saving 1.78 inspector hours per day and producing/documenting 2.75 times
the data, e-Construction could save contractors up to $40,000 yearly per construction project
(Weisner et al., 2017). PennDOT expects a $23.4 million annual operational savings, including
$5.9 million in construction documentation reductions (Brinckerhoff 2017). Paperless inspection
and construction administration are two examples of operational savings that can be attributed to
a reduction in storage and supply costs. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
standardized its project management, field data collection, and documentation procedures by
employing a specialized technology platform, smart devices, and formal collaborative
partnerships. They used e-Construction for all their construction projects to speed up data
collection and handle issues that arise in field operations and claim that their $1.1 million
investment led to $22 million in administration process cost savings annually (Torres et al., 2018).
E-Ticketing is a novel approach that has been pilot tested by state DOTs since 2015
(FHWA 2021; Sadasivam and Sturgill 2021; Tripathi et al., 2022; FHWA 2022), but only a handful
of states have implemented the technology. Many studies have been conducted to investigate its
numerous advantages, but they have not measured the increased productivity that results from its
use. As this is a strong motivator for stakeholders adopting the technology, the goal of this research
is to quantify the increase in productivity of DOT’s highway construction inspectors and engineers
that results from implementing e-Ticketing technology.
Decreased productivity in the paper ticketing process: This section focuses on understanding
the limitations of the current ticketing process. Producing, sorting, recording, and archiving paper
tickets is a time-consuming and expensive process for both state DOTs and general contractors.
(Kermanshachi et al., 2019; Sadasivam and Sturgill 2021; Robertson et al., 2022). These
documents, which include bills of materials as well as inspection reports, proper documentation,
and a number of other informational records, are commonly required by contractors and owner's
representatives during a project. Since most highway construction work is carried out at the job
site, documents must be transferred to computers, demanding re-entry of data, or remain in a bulky
inaccessible paper format.
The practice of physically collecting delivery truck load codes exposes inspectors to
several safety dangers such as walking alongside traffic and boarding trucks to collect paper tickets
(Subramanya et al., 2022). Handing off and entering data through paper tickets is a time-
- 3 -
consuming and resource-intensive process that necessitates several "touchpoints" along the way,
and the paper tickets lack material traceability since it is not uncommon for them to be lost or
damaged, resulting in delayed billing and a waste of considerable time/resources. In contrast,
digitally saved data can be retrieved with ease. Illegible data is another concern, as most asphalt
plant owners still use dot matrix printers with carbon copies. Despite the recent technological
advancements, some DOTs require administrative personnel to manually scan each paper ticket
into document management software, which is a time-consuming and repetitive task.
Increased Productivity with e-Ticketing: The FHWA defines e-Ticketing as a software platform
that facilitates the collection and information transfer for items as they are transported from the
plant to the job site in real time. E-Ticketing is more efficient than a paper-based system because
it automates routine tasks such as collecting and summarizing paper tickets and reduces the
workload of highway inspectors, enabling them to focus on other inspection tasks (Nipa and
Kermanshachi 2019; Subramanya et al., 2022). It also conserves the manpower and resources
required for paper printing, storage, and archiving of records, and expedites payment transactions.
E-Ticketing streamlines data administration by capturing data electronically and providing
opportunities for automatic transfers and archiving documents. It also eliminates lost or damaged
tickets, eliminates handoffs involving paper tickets, and automatically creates, transmits, and saves
data in a consistent, trustworthy, and efficient manner. Electronic data collection for load deliveries
enables more secure and efficient inspections (Sturgill et al., 2019), faster project delivery, more
timely payments (Subramanya and Kermanshachi 2022), less effort for ticket management, and
real-time comparisons of theoretical and actual tonnage (Nipa and Kermanshachi 2019; Tripathi
et al., 2022). Additionally, inspectors' exposure to potentially hazardous working circumstances
could be significantly decreased, and contractors' operational efficiency may be increased (Nipa
et al., 2019; Subramanya et al., 2022).
This study's research methodology consists of four parts, as depicted in Figure 1. First, the authors
reviewed previous research that was conducted on workforce shortages and the benefits of
implementing e-Ticketing technology in highway construction projects. Second, a survey
questionnaire was developed to explore ways that inspection staffs’ productivity could be
improved by implementing e-Ticketing technology. QuestionPro, an online survey platform, was
used to construct and distribute the survey to those who had worked in highway/bridge
construction projects, and 53 participants completed them. Third, the survey responses from
industry professionals were descriptively analyzed to forecast any increase in the inspection staffs’
productivity. The following are samples of the survey questions: (1) How frequently does your
organization face shortages of inspectors and engineers? (2) What is the average time taken to scan
a day’s batch of paper tickets into document management software? (3) How many man hours per
inspector per day can be saved by adopting e-Ticketing technology? Finally, the survey data and
findings from the existing literature were combined to address the industry's workforce shortage.
- 4 -
Figure 1: Research methodology
Demographics of participants: Of the 53 respondents, 39 respondents had more than 10 years of
experience in highway construction projects and 14 had less than 10 years of experience. Hence,
the majority of the participants had extensive knowledge of highway construction that would
enable them to provide reasonable responses relevant to the current research goals. More than 70%
- 5 -
of the respondents were state DOT employees, most of which were from the Indiana and
Washington DOTs, although a variety of states at various stages of e-Ticketing adoption were
included. Contractors represented 11%, and 5% were material suppliers. More than 75% visited
construction sites on a regular basis, while 25% did not. Figure 2 illustrates the various DOT
participants who responded to the survey. To get more stratified data, the survey was circulated
to all the stakeholders involved in implementing e-Ticketing. The survey sample was stratified to
better understand the technology's overall implications.
Figure 2: Distribution of DOT participants by state
RESULTS AND ANALYSIS
Workforce Shortage of Inspectors and Engineers: The survey questions pertaining to the extent
of the shortage of inspectors required responses based on a Likert scale, and 27.45% of the state
DOTs indicated a “frequent” workforce shortage, 11.76% responded “All the time,” and 0% of the
respondents responded “Never.” This indicates that every state DOT is facing some level of
shortage (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Workforce shortage of inspectors and engineers
7State DOT List
Total Respondents = 37 participants
17.65%All the time,
- 6 -
Productivity Gains: Another question was designed to determine whether implementing e-
Ticketing increases inspectors’ productivity on job sites or whether the advantage is primarily
minimizing human errors. The productivity gains could only be estimated by determining the time
required for each step of the paper ticket processing, and 25% of the respondents estimated that it
would take them 30 to 60 minutes to manually scan a batch of tickets, 20.9% estimated 1 to 2
hours, 20.9% estimated less than 15 minutes, and a few reported that it would take them 4 hours.
A detailed breakdown is shown in Table 1.
One of the last steps in manual ticketing is processing the invoices for payment. As per
the frequency analysis shown in Table 2, this task is also considered time-consuming and was
estimated by 24.4% of the respondents to take 30 to 60 minutes; 26.8% estimated that it would
take them 15 to 30 minutes. It also should be noted that it is not uncommon for tickets to be lost
or misplaced, which delays the billing process.
Table 1: Time It Takes Inspectors to Manually Scan One Day’s Tickets
Less than 15 minutes
15 - 30 minutes
30 - 60 minutes
1 - 2 hours
2 - 4 hours
4 hours and more
Table 2: Time It Takes to Match Up Tickets and Pay Invoices
Less than 15 minutes
15 - 30 minutes
30 - 60 minutes
1 – 2 hours
2 hours and more
Overall, these operations, when combined with inefficiencies in the paper ticketing process
identified in the literature review, take more than one hour for many respondents, making the
manual system very time-consuming. Respondents were also asked how many hours could be
saved by adopting an e-Ticketing system, and Table 3 shows that 38.8% of respondents estimated
that it would save between 30 minutes and one hour per day, 20.4% estimated 1 or 2 hours, and
24% per cent estimated less than 30 minutes. The varied responses are observed in the dataset as
the time saved by inspectors or engineers will differ based on project cost and duration. Also, the
state DOTs have different processes for handling the material tickets and the administrative work.
Table 3. Time Saved Inspectors per Day by e-Ticketing
30 minutes or less
- 7 -
30 minutes to 1 hour
1 – 2 hours
2 - 3 hours
4 hours or more
Inspector/engineer Requirement: Table 4 depicts the difference between the number of
inspectors required at a project job site with and without using e-Ticketing and shows that paper
ticketing requires more inspectors. The number is obviously the same for both processes for
projects that only need only one inspector. Hence the same analysis was conducted after removing
the two responses that indicated that only one inspector was needed because of the small size of
the project. The corrected percentage of inspectors needed reduces the workforce by
approximately 25%. This is also representative of all categories of projects based on various costs
in the United States, as it is a subset of the total population and indicates that mandating and
implementing the e-Ticketing platform throughout the U.S. could reduce the number of inspectors
and engineers needed for highway construction projects by 25%.
Table 4: Percentage of Inspectors Saved due to Adoption of e-Ticketing
Inspectors needed without adoption of e-Ticketing
Inspectors needed with adoption of e-Ticketing
Percentage of inspectors saved
Analysis after removal of projects which require a single inspector
Inspectors needed without adoption of e-Ticketing
Inspectors needed with adoption of e-Ticketing
Percentage of inspectors saved
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
The goal of the survey questionnaire was to quantify the effect that e-Ticketing technology would
have on inspectors’ productivity. The participants estimated that the implementation of an e-
Ticketing platform would save each inspector between 30 and 90 minutes per day that would be
required for manually scanning paper tickets into document management software, matching them
up with the invoices, paying invoices, and calculating cumulative loads manually. From the
analysis of the survey responses, it is evident that the productivity of inspectors and engineers is
directly proportional to the number of tickets produced at the job site, which is a function of project
duration or project cost. The increase in their productivity is directly related to the amount of time
saved per day per project by using e-Ticketing technology. The study also investigated whether
implementing e-Ticketing can reduce the number of inspectors required for highway construction
projects, and it was deduced from Table 4 that for projects that require more than one inspector, e-
Ticketing would eliminate approximately 25% of the inspector workforce. In the majority of
medium-to-large scale projects not utilizing e-Ticketing technology, one standalone inspector
- 8 -
would be needed to collect the paper tickets, record the truck numbers, calculate the cumulative
loads, and manually enter the information into Excel spreadsheets. With the adoption of e-
Ticketing, this entire repetitive process can be automated, and the inspectors can be reassigned to
another project that needs work related to quality control and quality assurance. This in turn helps
in minimizing the problem of workforce shortage of inspectors and engineers.
Statewide adoption of e-Ticketing can be of great benefit for organizations coping with
dwindling workforces, rising expenses, and delayed schedules. By utilizing e-Ticketing, State
DOTs could realize significant savings, and alleviate the nation's chronic workforce shortage of
highway construction inspectors. By combining it with other more recent technologies, highly
experienced personnel could serve as a central monitoring resource for multiple highway
construction projects. The widespread adoption of e-Ticketing technology has the potential to
delay the retirement of some personnel and by delivering fulfilling employment in a nice, secure,
and adaptable workplace environment, entice those who have already retired to return to work
part-time. The experienced inspectors can remotely work from the office and monitor the progress
of work. Delaying the retirement of inspectors who are passionate about the industry and equipping
them with technological advancements will further help in minimizing the problem of workforce
shortage. In addition, the e-Ticketing technology will facilitate the storage of immense quantities
of previously unavailable data, including value of the contract, timeframe, true cost, actual
timeline, accumulated tonnage/waste, inspection checklist data, type of material, project size,
number of trucks, number of inspectors, etc., that can be utilized to establish predictive models for
operational cost and quality requirements.
We gratefully acknowledge the support and generosity of the Transportation Consortium of South-
Central States (Tran-SET), without which the present study could not have been completed.
Anderson, L., C. Cronin, D. Helfman, B. Cronin, B. Cook, M. Venner, and M. Lodato. (2012)
NCHRP Report 693: Attracting, Recruiting, and Retaining Skilled Staff for
Transportation System Operations and Management. Transportation Research Board of
the National Academies, Washington, D.C., https://doi.org/10.17226/14603
Brinckerhoff, P. (2017). Addressing Challenges and Return on Investment (ROI) for Paperless
Project Delivery. (e-Construction):[techbrief] (No. FHWA-HRT-16-068). United States.
Federal Highway Administration. Office of Research, Development, and Technology.
Cai, H., J. Jeon, X. Xu, Y. Zhang, and L. Yang. (2020). Automating the Generation of
Construction Checklists. No. FHWA/ IN/JTRP-2020/23. Purdue University, Joint
Transportation Research Program, West Lafayette,
Embacher, R. 2021. “Use of Material Delivery Management System (MDMS) for Asphalt Paving
Applications.” (No. MN 2021-10). Minnesota. Dept. of Transportation. Office of Policy
Analysis, Research & Innovation.
Federal Highway Administration. 2020. e-Ticketing and digital as-builts. U.S. Department of
Transportation, Washington, D. C.
- 9 -
Federal Highway Administration. 2021. Every day counts. U.S. Department of Transportation,
Washington, D. C.
Kermanshachi, S., Anderson, S. D., Goodrum, P., & Taylor, T. R. 2017. Project scoping process
model development to achieve on-time and on-budget delivery of highway
projects. Transportation Research Record, 2630(1), 147-155.
Kermanshachi, S., Safapour, E., Anderson, S., Goodrum, P., Taylor, T., & Sadatsafavi, H.
(2019). Development of multi-level scoping process framework for transportation
infrastructure projects using IDEF modeling technique. In Proceedings of Transportation
Research Board 98th Annual Conference. https://doi.org/10.3141/2630-18
Li, Y., S. Al-Haddad, T. R. Taylor, P. M. Goodrum, and R. E. Sturgill. (2019). Impact of
Utilizing Construction Engineering and Inspection Consultants on Highway Construction
Project Cost and Schedule Performance. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the
Transportation Research Board, 2019. 2673: 716–725.
Newcomer, C., Withrow, J., Sturgill, R. E., & Dadi, G. B. (2019). Towards an automated asphalt
paving construction inspection operation. Advances in Informatics and Computing in
Civil and Construction Engineering, 593-600. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-00220-
Nipa, T. J., & Kermanshachi, S. (2022). Resilience measurement in highway and roadway
infrastructures: Experts' perspectives. Progress in Disaster Science, 14, 100230.
Nipa, T. J., Kermanshachi, S., & Subramanya, K. (2022). Development of Innovative Strategies
to Enhance the Resilience of the Critical Infrastructure. In Construction Research
Congress 2022 (pp. 111-120). https://doi.org/10.1061/9780784483954.012
Nipa, T. J., Rouhanizadeh, B., & Kermanshachi, S. (2019). Utilization and implementation of the
E-ticketing technology to electronically track the delivery of construction materials.
In CSCE Annual Conference.
Oechler, E., K. R. Molenaar, M. Hallowell, and S. Scott. (2018). State-of-Practice for Risk-
Based Quality Assurance in State Departments of Transportation. Engineering,
Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 25, No. 7, pp. 958–970.
Ogunrinde, O., Nnaji, C., & Amirkhanian, A. 2020. Application of emerging technologies for
Highway Construction Quality Management: A Review. Construction Research Congress
Patel, D., Sturgill, R., Dadi, G., & Taylor, T. 2019. Evaluating the performance of e-construction
tools in highway resurfacing projects. Proceedings of the 36th International Symposium
on Automation and Robotics in Construction (ISARC).
Robertson, G., Zhang, S., & Bogus, S. M. (2022). Challenges of Implementing E-Ticketing for
Rural Transportation Construction Projects. In Construction Research Congress 2022
Rouhanizadeh, B., & Kermanshachi, S. 2020. Challenges and strategies incorporated with
Transportation Construction Inspection. Construction Research Congress 2020.
Rush, S. (2021) Risk-Based Construction Inspection. Master’s the- sis. University of Kentucky,
- 10 -
Sadasivam, S., & Sturgill, R. (2021). e-Ticketing Handout [tech note] (No. FHWA-HRT-22-044).
United States. Federal Highway Administration. Office of Research, Development, and
Safapour, E., Kermanshachi, S., & Jafari, A. (2020). Effective project management principles
and strategies in transportation infrastructure projects. In Creative Construction e-
Conference 2020 (pp. 126-135). Budapest University of Technology and Economics.
Sturgill, R. E., Dadi, G. B., Van Dyke, C., Patel, D., Withrow, J., & Newcomer, C. (2019). E-
Ticketing and Advanced Technologies for Efficient Construction Inspections (No. KTC-
19-14/SPR18-554-1F). University of Kentucky Transportation Center.
Subramanya, K., & Kermanshachi, S. (2021). Exploring Utilization of the 3D Printed Housing
as Post-Disaster Temporary Shelter for Displaced People. In Construction Research
Congress 2022 (pp. 594-605).
Subramanya, K., & Kermanshachi, S. 2021. Impact of COVID-19 on transportation industry:
comparative analysis of road, air, and rail transportation modes. In International
Conference on Transportation and Development (pp. 230-242).
Subramanya, K., & Kermanshachi, S. 2022. E-Ticketing Technology in Construction Projects:
Adoption, Benefits, and Challenges. In Construction Research Congress 2022 (pp. 381-
Subramanya, K., Kermanshachi, S., & Pamidimukkala, A. 2022. Evaluation of E-Ticketing
Technology in Construction of Highway Projects: A Systematic Review of Adoption
Levels, Benefits, Limitations and Strategies. Frontiers in Built Environment, 128.
Subramanya, K., Kermanshachi, S., & Patel, R. 2022. The Future of Highway and Bridge
Construction: Digital Project Delivery Using Integrated Advanced Technologies. ASCE
International Conference on Transportation & Development.
Subramanya, K., Kermanshachi, S., & Rouhanizadeh, B. (2020). Modular Construction vs.
Traditional Construction: Advantages and Limitations: A Comparative Study. In Creative
Construction e-Conference 2020 (pp. 11-19). Budapest University of Technology and
Taylor, T., and W. Maloney. (2013). NCHRP Synthesis of High- way Practice 450: Forecasting
Highway Construction Staffing Requirements. Transportation Research Board of the
National Academies, Washington, D.C., https://doi.org/10.17226/22514.
Torres, H., Mauricio Ruiz, J., Chang, G.K., Anderson, J. and Garber, S. (2018). Report No.
FHWA-HRT- 16-030: automation in highway construction part i: implementation
challenges at state transportation departments and success stories, available at:
Tripathi, A., Patel, D., Sturgill, R., & Dadi, G. B. (2022). Analysis of E-Ticketing Technology for
Inspection Performance and Practicality on Asphalt Paving Operations. Transportation
Research Record, https://doi.org/10.1177/03611981221083308.
Weisner, K., B. Cawley, and A. Sindlinger. 2017. The Age of e-Construction. Public Roads,
FHWA- HRT-17-005, Vol. 81, No. 1.