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Internet bidding adoption in large transportation agencies ‐ from innovation to the norm


: More and more agencies are taking the leap over to electronic and Internet bidding and these organizations, and the contractors that bid on their work, are experiencing the associated benefits. In fact, across the US and Canada, there are more than 8000 highway construction contractors that are bidding online. They do so by downloading project data over the Internet, preparing bids on their computers and then uploading their bids back to the Internet. These contractors have experienced a reduction in paperwork and the significant time and cost savings associated with Internet bidding for state agencies, and they are now seeing this as an option for local work as well.   This paper reviews how several large US DOTs approached Internet bidding and, most importantly, got buy‐in from the contractors. It provides insights into agencies evaluating the use of either electronic or Internet bidding. Topics that are addressed include: What is the difference between e‐procurement, electronic bidding and Internet bidding? How does a public works agency determine the best system to implement for road and bridge construction projects? What are the benefits and efficiencies gained through the use of electronic or Internet bidding technologies?     This paper also discusses how large and small public transportation agencies have reviewed and evaluated the risksin several areas of the project bid and award process, and how the use of an Internet‐based bidding tool can mitigate and even eliminate those risks.  Some of the issues discussed are the potential for unauthorized or incomplete bid submission, privacy and security of bid information, bidsthat may be ‘lost’ using the electronic medium, and the guarantee that vendors are bonded for projects prior to bidding.  The innovation of Internet bidding diffused slightly faster than a typical technology to become the norm with transportation bidding over the last decade. This paper examines why and how this took place and what the future holdsfor internet bidding.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Ward Zerbe
Construction, Maintenance and operations