Fla. city finds effective way to manage traffic signs

April 29, 2011

With 822 miles of roads, 15,000 traffic signs and a population of 50,000, the public works department for the city of North Port, Fla., determined that a sign-inventory database would be beneficial for maintenance and management of their traffic signs. The Public Works Infrastructure Management Division began by using handheld computers to collect GPS coordinates, MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) codes and assessment information concerning the condition of each sign.

With 822 miles of roads, 15,000 traffic signs and a population of 50,000, the public works department for the city of North Port, Fla., determined that a sign-inventory database would be beneficial for maintenance and management of their traffic signs. The Public Works Infrastructure Management Division began by using handheld computers to collect GPS coordinates, MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) codes and assessment information concerning the condition of each sign. The entire inventory and condition-assessment collection process took approximately one year to complete. From there, the assessment information was used to generate work orders for signs meeting public works criteria for replacement.

North Port’s Public Works Department then decided to manage the in-house inventory of signs. Recalling the challenges faced obtaining FEMA reimbursements for signs that were destroyed by Hurricane Charley in 2004, they made the decision to assign bar codes to all signs as they were purchased. This provided a method to capture the purchase-invoice information for each sign placed in inventory by bar-code number.

The public works department needed a bar-code label that would be very difficult to remove and one that would not fade in the strong Florida sun during the 7-10 year life span of a traffic sign.

After considering other products, their operations support administrator for the public works department teamed up with Camcode and selected Camcode’s Metalphoto aluminum bar code labels .

North Port’s Public Works Department is now in the process of bar coding all signs in the field. The bar code allows sign-maintenance technicians to uniquely identify what signs are replaced or repaired without having to record location information.

In addition, the bar-code labels help the city of North Port comply with the federally mandated minimum sign retroreflectivity standards requiring the public works department to accurately assess the reflectivity of all regulatory signs. To do this, they purchased a retroreflectometer-measuring device, which calculates the retroreflectance of a sign while simultaneously recording the bar-code number. This provides North Port’s Public Works Department with an electronic process for collecting the retroreflectivity readings and updating their sign inventory. The process also allows them to monitor and forecast sign replacements when retroreflectance measurements do not comply with the federal standards.

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