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Signs of Success- Managing Traffic Sign Inventory with Barcodes
LaSalle County Highway Department- Ottawa, IL deploys barcode system to track their sign inventory

No one wants to get caught up in a mess of litigation where everyone is pointing fingers and looking for someone else to blame. This scenario can easily happen when it comes to traffic accidents caused by poor visibility of traffic signs with inadequate sheeting reflectivity.
That's why the FHWA is now requiring for state and local agencies to implement the use of an assessment or management method designed to maintain regulatory and warning sign retro reflectivity. This requirement states that all signs must be at or above the minimum retro reflectivity levels by the compliance data of June 13, 2014. Agencies will need to implement one of the five methods listed in the MUTCD, or a combination of the methods, to assess signs for nighttime visibility. These methods, as described in FHWA's publication Maintaining Traffic Sign Retroreflectivity, and the associated procedures tie the methods to the minimum required levels.
To help them meet these requirements, LaSalle County contracted with Cloudpoint Geographics, Inc. of Roanoke, IL to complete an inventory of all signs maintained by their agency. LaSalle County was also looking for an adequate sign inventory management tool that would allow them to assess retroreflectivity levels on a regular basis. With over 6,000 signs on 370 miles of roadways, the County needed an efficient, user-friendly solution.
The first step in this process involved locating the signs with GPS, collecting information on type, size, sheeting, and condition, and tagging each sign with a numeric barcode and an ID number associated to it. For this project it was determined that Metalcraft's photo anodized aluminum barcodes with tabs would provide the durability and longevity to stand up to the harsh environmental conditions.
Once the inventory and tagging work was complete, the County purchased SignOps, a web-based sign inventory maintenance application to help keep track of all maintenance activities and perform routine inspections. The software runs on any mobile device or desktop browser and allows the user to easily track and update inspection and maintenance activities.

Now LaSalle County can perform routine nighttime inspections using the SignOps program to 'flag' signs with poor reflectivity. Then they can print out a report of failed signs to easily order new replacement signs. When doing replacement work the software provides LaSalle County quick access to the failed signs by locating their position. In addition, all sign manufacture dates are logged in the system when they are purchased so the agency can track when a sign reaches the end of its expected life.


Courtesy of:
Jonathan J. Hodel, PE, GISP
Cloudpoint Geographics
PO Box 1017
Roanoke, IL 61561

For more information on software, visit www.cloudpointgeo.com or call 877-377-8124.
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