• For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 27, 2022
  • CONTACT: Andrew Jefferis, ajefferis@aii.org


Washington, D.C, July 27, 2022 — The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) released its latest white paper, Consensus Around Technologies: The Key Communications Technologies that Need to be Adopted to Improve Efficiency and Reduce Excavation Damages. The paper details the innovative technologies, best practices, and communication techniques that virtually all stakeholders agree will improve efficiency and reduce damages, yet are not being systemically adopted.

The paper surveys four organizations, which represent a wide cross-section of the parties that play a significant role in damage prevention, including independent government agencies, direct supervisory regulators, industry stakeholders, and regular users of the 811 system: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and the Infrastructure Protection Coalition (IPC). This survey demonstrates that these groups have reached a consensus on technology and practices including:


(1) Electronic White-Lining (EWL)

(2) Electronic Positive Response

(3) Enhanced Positive Response (EPR) and

(4) Predictive Analysis


“The stakeholders all seem to agree that certain technologies work and are ready to be deployed,” said Aii Director of Public Policy, Benjamin Dierker. “What is peculiar is that both the private sector and public regulators see the same technologies as needed and recognize the stakes if they are not implemented, but neither has stepped forward to lead the implementation.”

Damage incidents cause the U.S. over $30 billion in economic harm every year, while the systems in place to prevent this results in an additional $61 billion in annual systemic waste. Perhaps counterintuitively, the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021, which has allocated billions of dollars into construction projects, will likely result in a further spike in damage incidents and costs. Over $100 billion is at stake every year, and the technologies best suited to avoid damage and streamline the costs are sitting on the shelf.

All parties in the damage prevention process now agree that technology is critical and must be implemented. There is clear consensus that these four communications technologies are ready to be adopted systemically, but little or no action has taken place to move the needle. Aii outlines a path for key groups to help build momentum and achieve adoption of these consensus technologies. Those include:


NTSB : Include the technologies discussed in this paper in the next annual Most Wanted List. Any pipeline accident investigations in the future should investigate the impact EWL, EPR, and predictive analytics might have had in preventing or mitigating the accident.


CGA: Create a new best practice statement for EWL that is distinct from physical white-lining, or at a minimum strengthen the white-lining best practice to primarily emphasize EWL and only point to physical pre-marking if EWL is not available through one-call center.  Consider designing a best practice statement around the use of predictive analytics. Implement a certification program for members to receive a badge, dues credit, or some other incentive for implementing key best practices such as electronic white-lining, electronic positive response, enhanced positive response, and predictive analytics. Hold dialogues with relevant members (one-call centers, utilities, locators, and excavators) specifically aimed at leveling barriers and achieving the above listed technologies at a systemic level, while committing to a timeline.


PHMSA: Ensure all grant programs prioritize incorporation of the technologies discussed in this paper. Establish EWL and EPR as minimal enforceable standards through regulatory action or certification. Update the Nine Elements of Effective Damage Prevention and conduct a state-by-state review on the progress of implementation of each technology outlined above.


Click here to read the white paper.

To learn more about the Aii and our infrastructure work, visit Aii.org.




About the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure

The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) is an independent, national research and educational organization dedicated to identifying our nation’s infrastructure needs, creating awareness of those needs, and finding solutions to critical public policy challenges. Aii strives to promote proven, innovative technology and higher safety standards in a non-partisan manner to achieve excellence nationwide. The Alliance is a think tank consisting of two non-profits: the National Infrastructure Safety Foundation (NISF) 501(c)(4) and the Public Institute for Facility Safety (PIFS) 501(c)(3). (Aii.org)