With summer soon approaching, will highway and transit programs see another resurgence of federal funds across the country? A new act could possibly lead to more stability and job growth for state transportation departments, which could mean more work in the pipeline.

Last week, congress approved the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011, which extends highway, transit, and highway safety programs through the end of September. This legislation could provide some funds for transportations departments if the president signs the measure.

If enacted, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011 would allow state DOTs (Dept. of Transportation) to continue planning and constructing transportation projects throughout summer construction, which could ultimately improve unemployment numbers in the industry.

While this won’t bring construction employment numbers back to all-time highs, a bit of new work is good news for the industry. However, with the possibility of more road projects in the near future and increased competition among heavy/highway construction companies this summer, are your teams ready for the work?

Technology systems in the field can help improve productivity and efficiencies. For example, handheld controllers can help construction field workers with measurements, navigation, communications, and recordkeeping, among other functions.

With positioning technology, construction companies can locate, measure, and record information from anywhere on the construction jobsite.

For example, Trimble, www.trimble.com, Sunnyvale, Calif., recently announced a new positioning controller with built-in GPS, 3G, Wi-Fi, and a digital camera. These features add more capabilities to traditional positioning devices. For example, cameras will allow for more visual recordkeeping at the jobsite.

In the field, these types of devices need to be shock, dust, and water resistant to withstand the harsh conditions out at the jobsite. Other additional considerations for field workers are visibility in the sun and battery life.

Technology is aiding in the productivity and efficiencies in the field. For example, new features on positioning equipment will allow for more functionality at the jobsite. While news of an act could mean more work for the construction industry, contractors need to keep their technology plans in mind, as products continue to advance and offer new functionality for the industry.