Thermoplastic paving program

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In order to properly drive a car or walk across a street requires
that someone knows where they heading. Although these everyday tasks
seem to happen naturally it would be foolish to overlook the hard work
that people do to ensure that we are accurately guided. Guidance comes
in many forms, but for this article we will focus on the guidance that
the City of Park Ridge provides its residents by making certain that
their street pavement markings (thermoplastics) are identifiable and
easy to follow. For not having crosswalks painted brightly enough or
turn lanes not properly identified, could easily result in an
unnecessary accident.

Every year the City of Park Ridge conducts a survey of all their
intersections and decides which ones need to have their street pavement
markings updated, a process that has always been done by an outside
contractor until this year. By taking this survey in-house it
immediately saved the city $13,000 but then begged the question of what
would be the best way to conduct its survey independently. Lucky for the
city they have staff knowledgeable in the use of a Geographic
Information System (GIS). This system has been used for many projects
already and so why not test it out with their Thermoplastic Paving
Program.

Once it was decided that GIS would be the method of data collection
and storage for this year’s program, the Engineering Technician started
to hit the streets and conduct his survey. After only a few weeks of
review, the Engineering Technician then brought the data collected in
the field into the office and began to digitize the data into a GIS
database. This database held information about all pavement markings for
both installation and removal as well as what type of marking was
included at each location. Moreover, all pavement marking information
was assigned to its respective intersection so as to be able to
calculate the amount of removal and installation for each intersection.
Once all intersections were fully surveyed, the Engineering Technician
was then able to run a summary in order to apply a total cost for this
year’s program as well as a break down of the individual cost for each
intersection. This in turn would allow for easy analysis should the
Engineering Department decide to add or remove an intersection based on
their current budget. Last but not least, the finalized intersection
list will be supplied to the contractor who will do the work accompanied
by a map book that displayed what was to be installed or removed at
each intersection.

In conclusion, community needs that require definitive answers
usually require a systematic approach. In the example above, it easy to
see that using GIS not only allowed the Engineering Department to better
track and replace their street pavement markings, it also saved them
money while they to continue to keep their community a safe place for
travel.