Digitalization in Infrastructure Engineering

BMVI-Project: Infra-Bau 4.0 and BMDV-Project DiCoMa (Digital Construction Management)

Our team at Fraunhofer ITWM develops models and algorithms for optimized decision support in infrastructure engineering. One goal is to reduce construction delays of large projects with the help of prognosis-based planning tools.

Transportation infrastructure is one of the largest investment markets in the world. An OECD study forecasts annual spending of USD 6.5 trillion. In Germany, according to a survey by the main association of the construction industry, the corresponding investments in the federal construction sector alone amount to approximately EUR 65.5 billion for the period 2020-2023 - with an upward trend. This does not include infrastructure spending at the state and local level. Not only are the costs rising, but the technical, organizational, and legal complexity are also increasing. Digitalization is an important step in optimizing the planning and execution of construction projects. It increases efficiency, adherence to schedules and cost transparency.

Development of a Digital Ecosystem

To meet these challenges, we at Fraunhofer ITWM are studying these issues in various projects and focus on digital ecosystems. These systems allow a higher degree of networking and data exchange, which leads to many advantages in terms of faster and broader availability of information. This, in turn, makes it possible to optimize work processes.

For example, the quality of work in planning and project management can be improved if information from the field is available more quickly in the back office. Digitalization and automation offer opportunities that can have a positive impact on individual companies as well as on the project.

The soil condition differs from the expectation? These or other unforeseen changes in the construction process are communicated through the digital ecosystem and work packages are semi-automatically rescheduled with the help of a planning system connected to the platform. Together with other digitalization solutions in the construction industry (keyword: Building Information Modeling (BIM)), digital ecosystems are a sustainable approach to optimize construction planning and execution.

Concept Planning Algorithm
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Concept Planning Algorithm

Planning Support for Infrastructure Engineering Projects

Our core competence at Fraunhofer ITWM is the analysis, modeling and optimization of production and planning processes. We apply this expertise in the volatile context of infrastructure engineering. Within the research projects we work on the following questions

  • Where is room for improvement?
  • Where does digital planning support make sense?
  • How can digital planning support be integrated into a digital ecosystem?

Another question is how much competence the planner can or is willing to hand over to a digital planning assistant. In various projects we observed that simply delivering a good overall solution is often not enough. Instead, interactive planning support for solving specific sub-problems is required. For example, a semi-automatic rescheduling system suggests small plan adaptions as a reaction to an unforeseen change. We design and develop systems tailored to infrastructure engineering especially taking uncertainties and fluctuations into account.

Project Duration and Funding

Infra-Bau 4.0:
The aim of the Infra-Bau 4.0 consortium project was to develop a common platform. The project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (previously the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI)), ran from May 01, 2020 to December 31, 2021.

The follow-up project to Infra-Bau 4.0 is »DiCoMa« (Digital Construction Management). It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV) and runs from August 01, 2022 to April 30, 2023.

Our Project Partners

Infra-Bau 4.0                 

  • Drees und Sommer
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Experimentelles Software Engineering IESE
  • Science and Innovation Alliance Kaiserslautern e.V.
  • Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau (RPTU)
  • Volvo Construction Equipment Germany GmbH
  • Smart Site Solutions GmbH
  • Wolff & Müller Tief- und Straßenbau GmbH& Co. KG
  • Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau AG


  • Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau (RPTU)
  • Fraunhofer IESE
  • Science and Innovation Alliance Kaiserslautern e.V.