Research Portal

July 1, 2022

Feasibility of Using QR Codes in Highway Construction Document Management

Lee, Hyun Woo; Harapanahalli, Bharat Anand; Nnaji, Chukwuma; Kim, Jonghyeob; Gambatese, John. (2018). Feasibility of Using QR Codes in Highway Construction Document Management. Transportation Research Record, 2672(26), 114 – 123.

View Publication


Highway construction occasionally takes place in remote locations, making its document management challenging especially when frequent document revisions occur. With the recent advancement of smartphones and tablets, Quick Response (QR) codes can provide project teams rapid and reliable access to up-to-date documents required for field operations. As a result, the use of QR codes can lead to a reduced need for traveling or meeting for document revisions, and reduce the amount of hardcopy documents and storage space. Despite the potential for significant benefits, there have been few studies aimed at assessing the feasibility of using QR codes in highway construction. In response, the objective of the study was to investigate the benefits of and barriers to using QR codes in highway construction for document management. To conduct the study, first a multi-step process was used, involving an online survey and interviews, with a goal of determining the status quo of highway construction in terms of document management and mobile information technology (IT). The results indicate that hardcopy documentation is still the most prevalent form of document management in highway construction, and hence there is an opportunity for implementing QR codes in conjunction with mobile IT. In the second part of the study, a time study using a real-world infrastructure project was conducted based on three activities: detail look up, specification check, and version check. As a result, the study found statistical evidence that using QR codes can lead to significant time savings.


Highway Planning; Information Services; Road Construction; Document Management; Field Operation; Highway Construction; Infrastructure Project; Online Surveys; Quick Response Code; Remote Location; Statistical Evidence