Federal urban aid systems

​In 1916, the United States created the Federal-aid Highway Program
with the primary objective being the improvement of rural roads. This
changed with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944, which authorized the
first specific funds for urban highways, specifically the creation of a
formula for the distribution of federal-aid funds among the primary,
secondary, and urban systems. Today, there are three federal-aid
systems: The Interstate Highway System, the Federal-aid Primary highway
system (FAP), and the Federal-aid Secondary highway system. The
Federal-aid Secondary highway system is broken into secondary non-urban
(FAS) and secondary urban (FAU). The interstate system consists of
routes connecting and running through and around major urban centers.
The FAP consists of a system of connected main highways, while the FAS
are composed of principal secondary and feeder routes. Both aid systems
are chosen by state highway departments and local officials, but are
subject to approval by the Bureau of Public Roads. Having roads
designated as federal-aid means that the federal and state governments
provide funds and take care of repairs instead of the community in which
the road is located. This allows the local government to spend money in
other areas.

The Village of Wheeling currently has 12 routes designated as either
FAP or FAU. These consist of major roads throughout the village such as
Palatine Road, Wolf Rd, and Milwaukee Ave. The village submitted a
proposal to add 6 more roads to the Federal-Aid Urban System. These
include: Anthony Road, Equestrian Drive, Lexington Drive, Manchester
Drive, Northgate Parkway, and Strong Avenue. The village’s capital
projects department requested that the Geographic Information System
(GIS) department create a large map showing all current and proposed FAP
and FAU routes as well as small 8.5” x 11” maps detailing the starting
and ends of each routes with all existing traffic signals and stop
signs, to be submitted for approval. This saved the department the time
and effort previously required to create detailed maps by hand or using
an inefficient, program.

As of May 2009, a decision has not been reached on the approval of
the six routes as Federal-aid routes, but GIS provided the capital
projects department an easy way to submit their proposal without
spending a significant amount of time creating the maps needed for the
proposal.

Federal urban aid systems

​In 1916, the United States created the Federal-aid Highway Program
with the primary objective being the improvement of rural roads. This
changed with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944, which authorized the
first specific funds for urban highways, specifically the creation of a
formula for the distribution of federal-aid funds among the primary,
secondary, and urban systems. Today, there are three federal-aid
systems: The Interstate Highway System, the Federal-aid Primary highway
system (FAP), and the Federal-aid Secondary highway system. The
Federal-aid Secondary highway system is broken into secondary non-urban
(FAS) and secondary urban (FAU). The interstate system consists of
routes connecting and running through and around major urban centers.
The FAP consists of a system of connected main highways, while the FAS
are composed of principal secondary and feeder routes. Both aid systems
are chosen by state highway departments and local officials, but are
subject to approval by the Bureau of Public Roads. Having roads
designated as federal-aid means that the federal and state governments
provide funds and take care of repairs instead of the community in which
the road is located. This allows the local government to spend money in
other areas.

The Village of Wheeling currently has 12 routes designated as either
FAP or FAU. These consist of major roads throughout the village such as
Palatine Road, Wolf Rd, and Milwaukee Ave. The village submitted a
proposal to add 6 more roads to the Federal-Aid Urban System. These
include: Anthony Road, Equestrian Drive, Lexington Drive, Manchester
Drive, Northgate Parkway, and Strong Avenue. The village’s capital
projects department requested that the Geographic Information System
(GIS) department create a large map showing all current and proposed FAP
and FAU routes as well as small 8.5” x 11” maps detailing the starting
and ends of each routes with all existing traffic signals and stop
signs, to be submitted for approval. This saved the department the time
and effort previously required to create detailed maps by hand or using
an inefficient, program.

As of May 2009, a decision has not been reached on the approval of
the six routes as Federal-aid routes, but GIS provided the capital
projects department an easy way to submit their proposal without
spending a significant amount of time creating the maps needed for the
proposal.

Evaluating the location of a new Fire Station

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The City of Highland Park Fire Department is considering relocating
one of their three fire stations where they can build a larger station.
Moving this fire station will affect the response times within the
community. In order to help understand the extent to which the new fire
department will alter the response times, the city enlisted the help of
the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department.

The Fire Department contacted the GIS department in order to evaluate
the response time network covered by five-minute response areas. The
base layer for the response time network consists of a road centerline
feature. Information added to this feature including speed limits and
one-way restrictions allowed response times to be calculated. Using the
formula of 60*length of segment/speed limit, a response time was
populated for each segment. The response time is the cost of travelling
that segment of road. Placing other restrictions including, turns,
stop signs, and prohibited u-turns to model intersections, increased the
accuracy of the network.

The next step involved using the response time network to create a
series of maps. The first group of maps showed the five-minute response
area of the current configuration of fire stations. The second group
of maps showed the five-minute response area of the southern fire
station to one of two proposed locations. These proposed location maps
also showed which properties were no longer within a five-minute
response area as well as the new properties added to the five-minute
response area of the proposed station location. The final series of
maps showed five minute, twenty second, and five minute thirty second
response times. These maps demonstrated that many properties removed
from the five-minute response areas are still within a reasonable
response area from one of the fire stations.

With the creation of the road response network and the related map
products, the Fire Department had valuable information for assessing the
impact of moving the location of an existing fire station. With this
information, the Fire Department is able to show interested parties the
impact of relocating one of the fire stations.

Evaluating the location of a new Fire Station

Blog_Evaluating_the_location.png

The City of Highland Park Fire Department is considering relocating
one of their three fire stations where they can build a larger station.
Moving this fire station will affect the response times within the
community. In order to help understand the extent to which the new fire
department will alter the response times, the city enlisted the help of
the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department.

The Fire Department contacted the GIS department in order to evaluate
the response time network covered by five-minute response areas. The
base layer for the response time network consists of a road centerline
feature. Information added to this feature including speed limits and
one-way restrictions allowed response times to be calculated. Using the
formula of 60*length of segment/speed limit, a response time was
populated for each segment. The response time is the cost of travelling
that segment of road. Placing other restrictions including, turns,
stop signs, and prohibited u-turns to model intersections, increased the
accuracy of the network.

The next step involved using the response time network to create a
series of maps. The first group of maps showed the five-minute response
area of the current configuration of fire stations. The second group
of maps showed the five-minute response area of the southern fire
station to one of two proposed locations. These proposed location maps
also showed which properties were no longer within a five-minute
response area as well as the new properties added to the five-minute
response area of the proposed station location. The final series of
maps showed five minute, twenty second, and five minute thirty second
response times. These maps demonstrated that many properties removed
from the five-minute response areas are still within a reasonable
response area from one of the fire stations.

With the creation of the road response network and the related map
products, the Fire Department had valuable information for assessing the
impact of moving the location of an existing fire station. With this
information, the Fire Department is able to show interested parties the
impact of relocating one of the fire stations.

Fire district map books

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The Village of Wheeling fire department created fire districts for
the purpose of sectioning off the village so that village firefighters
would have a better idea where an incident was located and what station
would be the closest for response. The districts were sectioned off by
neighborhood and each one was given a four digit reference code. The
fire department then created maps of each district showing the streets
that were located within each one. While the maps were effective at
first, they eventually became outdated due to changes in the village.
The fire department asked the GIS Specialist to create an updated Fire
District Map Book that would also include features not available in the
previous version.

Using GIS, a new map book was created to meet the fire departments
specifications. The two new items requested to be added to the map book
were fire hydrant locations and village addresses. The fire department
went out and marked the location of each hydrant within the village so
that the exact locations could be added. With the fire hydrant
locations known, the firefighters would not have to waste time locating a
hydrant when responding to an incident. With the addresses displayed,
the fire department can easily locate the location of an incident,
especially in the case of an apartment complex where the addresses are
now broken down by building allowing the fire department to respond to
the correct building. In addition to the hydrant locations and the
addresses, the street names and the parcels were updated reflecting the
changes to the village since the last map book was created. Each map
book consists of individual pages that can be replaced individually in
case of an update or if a page is lost or destroyed.

With the completion of the updated fire district map books and the
placement of them within their vehicles, the fire department can now
respond more efficiently and more effectively to an incident within the
village.

Fire district map books

Blog_Fire_district_map.jpg

The Village of Wheeling fire department created fire districts for
the purpose of sectioning off the village so that village firefighters
would have a better idea where an incident was located and what station
would be the closest for response. The districts were sectioned off by
neighborhood and each one was given a four digit reference code. The
fire department then created maps of each district showing the streets
that were located within each one. While the maps were effective at
first, they eventually became outdated due to changes in the village.
The fire department asked the GIS Specialist to create an updated Fire
District Map Book that would also include features not available in the
previous version.

Using GIS, a new map book was created to meet the fire departments
specifications. The two new items requested to be added to the map book
were fire hydrant locations and village addresses. The fire department
went out and marked the location of each hydrant within the village so
that the exact locations could be added. With the fire hydrant
locations known, the firefighters would not have to waste time locating a
hydrant when responding to an incident. With the addresses displayed,
the fire department can easily locate the location of an incident,
especially in the case of an apartment complex where the addresses are
now broken down by building allowing the fire department to respond to
the correct building. In addition to the hydrant locations and the
addresses, the street names and the parcels were updated reflecting the
changes to the village since the last map book was created. Each map
book consists of individual pages that can be replaced individually in
case of an update or if a page is lost or destroyed.

With the completion of the updated fire district map books and the
placement of them within their vehicles, the fire department can now
respond more efficiently and more effectively to an incident within the
village.

GIS assists fire department Insurance Services Organization (ISO) inspection

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The Insurance Services Organization (ISO) is an advisory organization
that evaluates risk with the objective to help their customers measure,
manage, and reduce risk. In a government setting, ISO will gather
information that is often used in insurance underwriting. Therefore they
will evaluate how well a municipality manages and mitigates risk and
those factors directly affect residents and their insurance premiums.

Fire department staff in Elk Grove Village were aware of an ISO
inspection that would be taking place in the near future and chose to
utilize Geographic Information System (GIS) resources to communicate the
municipal services that are provided and managed to ISO. The Public
Protection Classification (PPC) program, a fire protection analysis, and
their Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) would be used by ISO in
this case to assign a rating for the community on a scale of 1 to 10,
with Class 1 providing the best fire protection.

GIS was first leveraged to identify the water system including water
main location and diameter, and hydrant locations and their unique
identification numbers. Hydrant flow test information was then
incorporated into the hydrant GIS layer from an existing spreadsheet
that is maintained by the fire department. GIS analysis was performed to
determine a series of response areas based on varying criteria. One
example is a 1.5 mile response area from each fire station which easily
shows areas that are within that distance from a fire station. Similar
response areas were determined from the fire stations considering a time
factor rather than distance.

This information was distributed in multiple formats to meet the
needs of the fire department personnel. The map images were placed at a
shared location where fire staff could view and/or print them. The data
was also made available in an ArcReader (PMF) Project. ArcReader is a
free product that allows fire staff the opportunity to view an
interactive map of the community along with all of the specific ISO
inspection data they requested.

Much more fire information is being incorporated into the GIS and
electronic format to provide locational information that allows for
quick modification to existing projects and products and the creation of
new ones which, as discussed here, can significantly impact and assist a
department.

Fire response analysis in Park Ridge

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The City of Park Ridge Fire Department, like all other Fire
Departments, takes great pride in responding to their residents in a
quick and timely manner. Part of taking pride in this service means
that they are prepared at all times and are ready to act when the bell
goes off. Their hard work doesn’t stop there though, as they are always
investigating ways to improve their systems and response times to
incidents within and outside the city limits. Whether it is receiving a
good numerical grade for the Public Protection Classification (PPC*) or
a high rating for Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS*), the Fire
Department is always enhancing their efficiency to provide a great
service.

In addition to the tests listed above, the Park Ridge Fire Department
contacted the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department in order
to evaluate the response time network covered by five-minute response
areas. The base layer for the response time network consists of a road
centerline feature. Information added to the road centerline feature,
including speed limits and one-way restrictions allowed for response
times to be calculated. Using the formula of “60*length of segment/speed
limit,” a response time was populated for each segment. The response
time is the cost of travelling that segment of road. Placing other
restrictions including turns, stop signs as well as prohibited u-turns
for modeling intersections only increased the accuracy of the network.

When the final product of the road centerline feature was completed
it was then run through a specific GIS tool that would trace all street
segments for five-minutes worth of drive time from each fire station in
the city. The result of this analysis was a highlighted area of
coverage from each fire station, which allowed the Fire Department to
visually see where coverage did and did not exist. In this case the
test successfully proved that the two Park Ridge fire stations were
accurately located within the city allowing them to reach all corners of
town within a five-minute drive time.

In conclusion, it is great to see how the Park Ridge IL, Fire
Department, along with the assistance of the GIS Department, were able
to work together in order to continue to providing the city with a safe
and efficient service for their residents.

Comprehensive fire hydrant flow rate review

The Village of Winnetka Fire Department recently utilized the
Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) to complete a
community-wide fire hydrant flow rate review. Accurate flow rate
information is critical to the department for knowing how much water
pressure is available from a hydrant at a given location in the village.

By assigning flow rate information to all the hydrants in GIS, this
information can be easily mapped and used for reference. While the
department flow rate inventory continues to be maintained using other
methods in addition to GIS, such as a hydrant inventory list, being able
to visualize the data spatially reduces the amount of time necessary to
retrieve this valuable hydrant attribute.

To assist in the initial stages of this inventory development
process, the GIS department provided a Village-wide map of fire hydrant
locations with each hydrant color coded by its existing flow rate
information. This preliminary flow rate data was inputted into the GIS
system several years ago from multiple sources, including as-builts and
CAD-drawings. Using this data as a base to work from, the Fire
Department began reviewing the flow rates using a variety of methods
including field checks, existing inventory lists and personal knowledge
of the fire hydrants from the department’s hydrant officer.

While the main focus of the review was to update the hydrant flow
rate information, the Fire Department also used this opportunity to mark
up the map with new hydrants that were missing from the village’s GIS
mapped water system. This information allowed the GIS department to
not only update the existing hydrants but also to improve the accuracy
of the water system as a whole. This system improvement not only
benefits the Fire Department but also the Public Works and Water and
Electric departments, which in turn reference the Village utility
information in their day to day business processes.

With the review complete, the Fire Department now has a quick
reference map for checking both the location and flow rate information
for each hydrant in the village. It also provides the department with
an easy-to-use, effective device for providing additional updates to the
GIS Department in the event of future changes to the system.

By combining the existing Village hydrant inventory resources with
the spatial components of GIS, the village now has a more robust flow
rate reference tool. Improving the capability of the department to
determine water pressure information for a given hydrant improves its
ability to assist the village residents when responding to a fire
emergency. Overall, it is easy to see how the GIS Department and Fire
Department were able to work side by side to improve the accuracy of the
water utility infrastructure that they had mapped in the GIS and what
the village staff accesses on a daily basis.