Labels Help Ensure Signs are Maintained Efficiently
The Public Works Department for a major city on the U.S. Gulf Coast decided that a sign inventory database would help them manage and maintain their traffic signs. No small task, considering the city oversees 800 miles of roads and 15,000 traffic signs. Handheld computers were used by the Public Works Infrastructure Management Division to collect information on location and condition of the traffic signs. Data included GPS coordinates, assessment on the signs’ condition, and MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) codes. The collected data could then be used to create work orders for replacement of signs.
The Problem: Tracking Damaged and Lost Signs
Deciding to manage the traffic sign inventory in-house, the Public Works Department was reminded of the complications they faced while obtaining FEMA reimbursements for signs that were destroyed by Hurricane Charley in 2004. They realized that they needed to be able to record the purchase invoice information for each new sign and have that information readily available along with the other information gathered, such as the age and condition of each sign. That information would then be available to government or other entities whenever it was needed. To capture and track the information, the Department decided to assign bar codes to all signs as they were purchased.
In researching various bar code vendors, the Department narrowed its choices to a few that appeared to be appropriate for their needs. They needed a bar code label that would be very difficult to remove and one that would not fade in the gulf coast sun during the seven to 10 year life span of a traffic sign. After careful review and evaluation, the Department selected Camcode’s Metalphoto® Foil aluminum bar code labels because of their durability, including strong adherence and resistance to fading over the years.
Now all new signs are bar coded as they are purchased, and the Department has also started bar coding all existing signs in the field with Camcode’s Metalphoto Foil bar code labels.
A primary benefit of Camcode’s solution is the ability for sign maintenance technicians to uniquely identify signs that are replaced or repaired, by scanning bar codes with hand-held computers. This eliminates the tedious, time-consuming and often error-prone task of manually recording the signs’ locations and maintenance conditions. Also, the value and date of purchase for each sign can be recorded and accessed through the scanning of bar code labels as well.
The Department noted that the durability, impact resistance and sealed graphics of Camcode’s labels are also strong benefits to this product and process.
The city’s Public Works Director had high praise for Camcode, citing knowledge, experience and an exceptional product: “Camcode Metalphoto® Bar Code Tags were selected because they have been proven in other applications to withstand abrasion, intense weather such as tropical storms or hurricanes; and exposure to UV, chemicals and solvents. We believe that the tags will pay for themselves in increased productivity.”