Idaho asset inventory helps track highway components statewide

Aug. 2, 2021

Innovation saves the Idaho Transportation Department nearly 300,000 personnel data collection hours

Idaho's highway assets have recently been digitally recorded and catalogued statewide through a process that is being called a "technological game-changer" for the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).

Until recently, the components of Idaho’s 12,000-lane-mile state highway system were largely unknown and unaccounted for. The highly collaborative effort to catalogue the state's highway assets was spearheaded by GIS Analyst Nik Sterbentz in District 5 (southeast Idaho region), according to a press release.

“Basically, before SWAAI (Statewide Asset Attribute Inventory), ITD simply didn’t have inventories of its key highway assets,” Sterbentz explained in a statement. In order to be accountable to taxpayers and those doling out funding and resources, this needed to change. As Sterbentz notes, “it opens the door on a multitude of possibilities for ITD to do better business.”

Prior to the project, ITD lacked reliable comprehensive data inventories of nearly all its key highway assets, including signs, guardrails, ADA ramps, sidewalks, and vertical clearance, to name a few. 

After nearly two years of project planning and discussions, ITD selected Cyclomedia Technology to gather mobile LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and roadway imagery in the summer of 2020. Utilizing automated technology, Cyclomedia was able to rapidly return the asset data according to ITD’s specifications by March 2021, ITD said. Now, ITD staff across the organization as well as ITD partners can make use of not only the extracted asset inventories (nearly 700,000 individual GIS features) but also 360-degree panoramic roadway imagery with underlying LiDAR, ensuring measurement accuracy to under an inch at any point along Idaho’s highways.

ITD says it now has complete, comprehensive data inventories of approaches; barriers/guardrail; billboards; cattle guards; curb (ADA) ramps; intersections; lanes; lights/luminaires; medians; mileposts/equations; pavement messages and striping; railroad crossings; rumble strips; shoulders; sidewalks; sign faces and supports; signal poles, cabinets, and power pedestals; utilities, survey markers, storm drains, and other objects embedded in the roadway pavement; and vertical clearance including bridges, utility lines, and other overhead objects.

ITD says this innovation saves the department nearly 300,000 personnel data collection hours and ultimately save taxpayer dollars by about $3.8 million.

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SOURCE: Idaho Transportation Department