Saving Millions by Streamlining Contract Bidding

State transportation agency gets custom application for high-volume engineering and construction bids.


A mid-Atlantic state transportation department is responsible for more than 40,000 miles of state and local highway and 25,400 state and local bridges. It also oversees the programs and policies that affect the state’s public transportation, airports, railroads, ports, and highways, administering more than 11 million vehicle registrations and 10 million drivers’ licenses and related vehicle safety and emission inspection programs. The agency employs nearly 11,500 staff engaged in maintenance, restoration and expansion of the state highway system.

Like most large state transportation agencies, this one relies on hundreds of contracts worth billions of dollars for engineering and construction work related to the state’s transportation infrastructure. To manage the information related to these contracts, the agency relied on the Engineering and Construction Management System (ECMS), a third-party highway and transportation application. The application no longer met federal requirements, had outlived its support and was in need of upgrade or replacement. The system rejected bidders for correctable issues, potentially costing the agency millions by not accepting the lowest bid.


The agency turned to CAI to develop a new bidding module to replace the inefficient bidding element of the ECMS application. CAI developed a solution that eliminates the need for third-party software and allows bidders to enter their bids with confidence, ensuring that the agency can always choose the most cost-effective bid.


CAI’s custom solution meets all federal requirements, including improving the way the state reviews contracts from disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE). It eliminates third-party software licensing fees and ongoing support costs, and improves the contractor bidding experience, allowing contractors to review their submission before bid opening. The new application simplifies the bidding process for both PennDOT and outside contractors, providing flexibility for disadvantaged businesses, and securing data integrity prior to bid opening.

Because the new bidding module analyzes bids before they’re opened, the application no longer automatically rejects correctable bids. The agency now saves an estimated $4.8 million each year and has eliminated the number of bids with errors across all categories.


$4.8M Annual cost savings from validated bids
$2.4B Annual construction bid amount
$20k Cost savings in annual licensing fees

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