St Johns County W

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					Automating Street
Sign Maintenance
System helps county remain compliant with                                                          By Jim Baumann
government accounting standards.
        ounded in 1821, St. Johns           now. Previously, all documentation and      signs to minimize the loss of data

 F      County is located on the
        Atlantic Ocean in northeastern
        Florida. The many historical
sites in the area attract more than 6.5
                                            work orders were done on paper. It was
                                            very time-consuming, and work loca-
                                            tions for the crews were indicated by
                                            specifying nearby intersections or gener-
                                                                                        between the time the countywide inven-
                                                                                        tories are completed and when the
                                                                                        resulting data is uploaded.

                                                                                        Building on Success
million visitors annually, making           al areas. Performance reports relied on
tourism an important component of the       guesstimates.”                                 Building on the success of this proj-
local economy.                                 To automate its roadway data collec-     ect, the county hired Woolpert, Inc.
   Cars and buses provide the primary       tion, the county invested in a van out-     (, specialists in
means of transportation for both resi-      fitted with video cameras, still cameras,   transportation asset management, to
dents and visitors, increasing the need     and computers so that the county’s          develop an application to collect, store,
for regular road maintenance. To help       40,000 roadway signs and 15,000 sign        and deliver the geospatial data and relat-
manage repairs, the county’s public         support structures could be regularly       ed imagery of its street sign inventories.
works department has implemented a          inspected and the collected data man-          Woolpert developed the Automated
number of GIS-based maintenance pro-        aged by ArcGIS Server (        Maintenance of Signs (AMoS) applica-
grams.                                      in an Oracle database. These surveys are    tion using Visual Basic and the distrib-
   Rocky S. Agbunag, asset management       supplemented by field crews that use        uted geodatabase toolbar in ArcGIS.
coordinator for St. Johns County, says,     ArcPad to collect the location and con-     AMoS extracts a version of the geodata-
“We have used GIS for about four years      dition of newly repaired or installed       base to export for field use. The export-

22   ■   GOVERNMENT ENGINEERING   ■   MARCH-APRIL 2010                                            
                                                                                           Refuse Collection
                                                                                           Saves Baltimore
                                                                                                e-routing residential trash collec-
                                                                                           R    tion by Baltimore is expected to
                                                                                           save up to $6 million per year. The
                                                                                           city has an estimated population of
                                                                                           630,000 with 190,000 households
                                                                                           serviced by the department of public
                                                                                           works (DPW) trucks and crews.
                                                                                           Before the re-routing project, the
                                                                                           DPW collected refuse twice a week
                                                                                           from each residence, with about 63
                                                                                           trucks operating six days a week for
                                                                                           a total of 214 routes. The DPW also
                                                                                           collected recycling twice a month.
                                                                                              Gershman, Brickner & Bratton,
                                                                                           Inc. (GBB, re-rout-
                                                                                           ed the city using FleetRoute™ route
A van collected data on 40,000 roadway signs and 15,000 sign support structures, all of    optimization software, which previ-
which is managed by Arc GIS Server in an Oracle database.                                  ously had been successfully used by
                                                                                           Baltimore since July 2009. The proj-
ed geodatabase is available on the field     the reflective capabilities for individual    ect included refining the geocoding
crew’s laptop and can be used to validate    signs. By coupling this information with      of city customers on GIS maps and
existing information or create new data.     the GIS, managers not only have an            geocoding and identification of cus-
If a new sign is installed, the crew will    immediate inventory and report on the         tomers requiring collection in alleys.
fill out a form with basic information       condition of their assets, but also know      In addition, street centerline data was
about the sign, including its correspon-     exactly where these assets are in relation-   expanded to add alleys and travel
ding Manual on Uniform Traffic               ship to the daily maintenance schedules       attributes (such as speeds, one-ways,
Control Devices (MUTCD) code. The            of field crews. In the event of a sudden      overpasses/underpasses, etc.) that
sign is photographed and its file name       emergency, this knowledge allows near-        were not included in the city GIS
stored in the attribute table. The photo     by crews to be quickly reassigned to take     baseline. City historical service data
is later moved to a shared network fold-     remedial action, if necessary. Since the      was used for set-out weights, and
er so that it can be hyperlinked to its      CMMS and the GIS are integrated, files        field observations were conducted
physical location on the map. Once the       can be accessed through either system.        to update the stop time information.
maintenance is complete, the field data         Because the county does perform-              The alternative conceptual route
is imported into the geodatabases for        ance-based budgeting with its CMMS,           scenarios included both weekly and
reconciling and posting.                     it can track costs associated with assets     twice weekly refuse collection.
    The AMoS system helps St. Johns          and their predicted life span. Using the      Weekly collection also included recy-
County easily locate and reference each      CMMS in conjunction with AMoS is              cling collection, referred to as One
street sign, determine the MUTCD             also useful in determining better esti-       PLUS One, by the city. Scenarios
code for that sign or group of signs, and    mates for budgetary planning for future       included both five-day work weeks
review its maintenance history. The sys-     years.                                        and four-day work weeks. The analy-
tem is also used to analyze the types of        “By georeferencing all the informa-        sis indicated that the change in the
signs used and the quantity the county       tion related to our county roadway sig-       collection system could save the city
will need in the future so that it can       nage, we have realized a quantifiable         about $6 million a year. The city
budget for labor and materials costs.        return on investment with our GIS. It         council approved the change, select-
    Woolpert linked the county’s com-        also allows us to remain compliant with       ed the One PLUS One scenario, and
puterized maintenance management             GASB 34,” concludes Agbunag.                  the city began the new collection
system (CMMS) with ArcGIS to expe-                                                  GE     program on July 13, 2009. The new
dite sign repair and replacement. The           Mr. Baumann writes about interna-          program provides one trash collec-
CMMS helps manage public works               tional GIS-related topics for ESRI. He has    tion and one recycling collection
assets and allocates resources for field-    written articles on various aspects of the    each week for the single family resi-
work. It records information such as         computer graphics industry and informa-       dences in Baltimore. Collections are
inspection schedules, maintenance, and       tion technology for more than 20 years.       made Tuesday through Friday.                                                             GOVERNMENT ENGINEERING    ■   MARCH-APRIL 2010    ■   23