Road Construction Productivity Study

Caterpillar built two roads side by side, one with traditional processes and the other with technology, to compare construction productivity.

Road Construction Productivity Study



You’ve probably heard the countless reasons machine technologies can help save you time and money. Recently, Caterpillar put these to the ultimate test by building two roads side by side in a first-of-its-kind construction productivity study. One road used traditional road construction processes while the other used the latest in technology. The results speak for themselves:

The Setup

Two roads, each 400 feet in length, were constructed at our Peoria Proving Grounds in Peoria, Illinois. The first was built using traditional processes. The second was built with Cat® Connect Technology & Services including telematics, machine control and guidance, payload, and intelligent compaction technologies.

The test was built to replicate an authentic worksite – a variety of machines, some Cat and some non Cat, were used. They included dozers, motor graders, soil compactors, articulated trucks, wheel loaders, pavers, dual drum vibratory compactors and on-highway trucks.

In the study, labor, material, equipment, and fuel utilization were quantified and used to calculate total costs and project hours for both roads. The cost savings using technology were then applied using an increment of one mile to determine the return on investment and subsequent profitability.


The Results

Using technology to build the road led to significant improvements in construction productivity, including:

  • 31% fewer man hours
  • 34% fewer equipment hours
  • 46% fewer project hours
  • 37% less fuel consumption
  • And an environmental benefit of saving 12 acres of forest

How far down the road do you have to go until you reach profitability?

The investment in technology on this new road is about $250,000.

On a road construction project of about three miles in length, it takes 79 working days with technology versus 147 working days with traditional methods. But it’s still short of a return on investment. However, four miles is nearly the break-even point. That means for every mile thereafter, the customer is banking the profits of improved construction productivity.




Customers report the road to payback, using Cat Connect Technology, takes 6 months to 1 year. This investment puts them in the fast lane to less cost, increased quality and safety and on to the next project in record time.

Watch the video to see the full results.


Click here to download the full construction productivity report.



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